10 on the 10th, Crossing back across Cultures

Moving back to the States has been relatively easy. At least I guess it has. The physical changes people warned us about haven’t been that big of a deal. The spritual/emotional/psychological changes, well, those haven’t set in yet. So, while I’d love to write a heartfelt post about how absolutely INSANE it is to move from one life into a very different, but equally as wonderful life all over the course of a few days, it’ll have to wait. Mostly, because it’s still just too crazy and I haven’t had a second to think through any of the deep stuff at all. I can only say that I feel quite bipolar over the ability to adore two places at once, two sets of friends, two homes, two continents, etc. We moved from, in my opinion, one slice of heaven to another. My brain is racked (wracked?)…see I can no longer spell. So, instead of trying to put all that chaos into a pretty blog post, I’m gonna just give you the best Ten I can on the not-really-that-important-in-the-grand-scheme-of-things things I’ve noticed as we adjust back to life in this amazing place called America.

  1. Upon arrival at the airport I immediately noticed how clean and organized everything was. The straight lines and well marked signage. Customs was a breeze and I sure did love all those North Cackalacky accents welcoming us to Raleigh.  I had no idea how much I’d missed those long drawn out words. Everything sounds sweeter, slower.
  2. Upon exiting the airport (approximately 3.5 weeks ago now), the first things I noticed were these: It was super hot and I could feel the water in the air. And I loved it! That sweet southern summertime humidity felt just like home to me.
  3. Every vehicle in the parking garage was ENORMOUS. We journeyed from Africa to England to the US and the sizes in automobiles could not have varied more. Even we hopped right into what felt like a space shuttle turned on it’s side when we rode home in a Honda Odyssey. All that room and a gazillion cupholders. It was kind of glorious and a bit overwhelming. And I won’t even go into how it felt like we were flying as we sped 80mph down that smooth, straight interstate!
  4. There are stoplights that work and there are rules for the road that most everyone follows! Awesome.
  5. America is maybe the most convenient place on earth. Here’s what I’ve noticed…Garbage disposals (did you know they don’t routinely have these even in homes in the UK?)
  6. Two light switches for one room. You can walk in one side, switch on the light, walk to the other and switch it off on your way out. As dumb as it sounds…I really missed that.
  7. Trash bins everywhere. Don’t take it for granted people. And for goodness’ sake, use them.
  8. Butter with measurements marked on the wrapping. No guessing. No weighing. No scraping it out of tablespoon or cup measures. Just line up your knife and whack away. Or use the entire stick. It’s up to you.
  9. Target. My first trip back to this amusement park for moms was fabuloso. The cute kids clothes on clearance, the one spot (although, is it just me, or does the $1 spot have more $3 items than $1 items anymore?! C’mon Target), the adorable everything really. I still love it. However, on my second or third visit, I have to admit that I did have to do a double take as I rushed down the toilet paper aisle with a friend as we looked for Clorox wipes to finish off her school supply list. Y’all. An entire aisle, both sides of just toilet paper options. The aisle beside it held nothing more than a vast array of paper towels down each side of the aisle. Other than my first trip through Costco where the overwhelming amount of refrigerated space made my head spin, I hadn’t really felt overwhelmed by the huge number of options in American stores. What with all the working indoor plumbing, I suppose America needs options for TP, but I have to admit, it felt strange.
  10. The 4 year-olds perspective. When we left for Kenya, Beckett was 2 and a half-ish. Other than Granny and Grandaddy’s house and their mower, we’re pretty sure he remembers nothing of his former life in the US. His first trip back to the beach was priceless. We were able to go to the beach in Kenya once, but it just wasn’t the same as jumping over the waves and playing in the ocean like we get to do in NC. He was mesmerized and couldn’t stop grinning….another Cook family beach bum in the making….He asked Granny what the thing in her kitchen was? The dishwasher….His new favorite past time is filling up cups from the water on the front of the fridge….Watching the robotic trash truck pick up and empty trash cans is beyond entertaining….And maybe my favorite of Beckett’s new discoveries came after we played a guessing game that went a little like this: B: Mom, I want to go to one of those places where they make the things inside. M: What kind of things? B: You know, the things we like. M: Tell me about the things. B: You know, like red drinks and ice. M: Ohhhh. You mean the places that give us drinks? Like Sonic? B: Yes! I want to go to one of those places where you drive in your car and they give you the drinks into your car! M: Those are called Drive-Thrus. B: Yep. I wanna go to a Car Thru. Can we go to one now?….And he still calls them Car Thrus.

There have been many other things that have come up, like instinctively thinking squirrels in the trees are monkeys and wondering if you’re driving on the correct side of the highway. And questioning if groceries being delivered to my door or being ordered for pickup is really a thing?! But for the most part it’s all in good fun. I’ll do my best to continue my legacy of truth in editing (I’m nothing if not honest) when the hard times come…as we know they will. Until then, we’ll keep riding on the coattails of summer time travel, happy reunions, slushies and sunshine.