Land that I Love

Noella and I chowing down on some Southern Soul Food - Chicken and Waffles and Shrimp and Grits

It’s been a few weeks since our return to United States, and we are happy to be home. I was reunited with my precious baby angel, a.k.a. The Cat, and our little family is currently camped out at an extended stay hotel in a business park in Jacksonville.  After the excitement of traveling the world, we plopped ourselves in the dreariest place imaginable.  This is always the worst part of the move, the part I hate and the part I am always eager to move quickly past.  It feels likes weeks and weeks of suitcases and fast food and cramped living.  But there is a bright future on our horizon, and it consists of many adventures that I am more than looking forward too.  We move into our house next week, and I couldn’t be more excited!
Upon returning to America, I find that there are many things to get readjusted to, many strange and disappointing behaviors among Americans that I had forgotten about as well as many pleasant surprises and conveniences about life in the United States.
I have been reminded about the tendency of people to pilfer things.  For example, we bought a used car and our dealer informed us he has been keeping only 1/8 a tank of gas in the car because hoodlums will come at night and siphon his gas.  We left our car, named Nora, in a parking lot and some of our registration stickers had been scraped upon in an attempt to take them.  Our friend had a headlight cover stolen from her car.  What?!  Seriously?!  Things I would never even imagine to steal are stolen here, so keep an eye out.
Barnes and Noble has a paranormal teen romance section, full of vampire and werwolf and ghost romance apparently.  I was surprised that the Twilight phenomenon has so penetrated contemporary literature as to warrant its own section in the bookstore.
Organic food is everywhere!  I have a Whole Foods! And not only that, but a slew of other natural markets.  Expensive, yes, but not many can touch the expense of living in Japan.  It’s trendy to be healthy and natural, and while that may make some people cynical, it makes me happy to think that we have some choices about what we eat.
People are super friendly.  I mean that people talk to you.  Servers, cashiers, and people in line all ask about your day.  When you walk by people on the street, they smile.  When you are in an elevator, people say hi.  It might just be a by-product of living in the South, but I’ve been so surprised at how ready people are to chit-chat.  You know how I love to chit-chat, thus revealing that America is where I’m from.  This propensity for conversation is something I have missed, and one of the biggest reasons I’m happy to be back.
Last but not least, for the first time in six years I reside in the same time zone as my parents and a good number of my friends.  I’ve enjoyed having conversations with my family and friends at a time that is normal, convenient, and lacks the usual math skills I require to make a phone call to another time zone.  Even better, the holidays are coming and we are able to be home together for them for the first time in years.  It’s a wonderful feeling to be home.