11/6/2010 to 2/28/2011 | USA

Home for Christmas

Me and my family Christmas Eve 2011

Everyone seemed to expect it would be hard for me to be back in California, readjusting to American life.  But I had to disappoint their preconceived notions by saying it really wasn’t that hard, things were roughly as I remembered them.  I often explained it like shifting between dreams and reality.  When I’m in Asia the land of manicured lawns, supermarkets, ten lane highways, and shopping malls feels like a dream I once had years ago, but upon returning, I wakeup in to the reality of the past, and it is the chaotic markets, and crowded buses of Asia that now seems like the dream.   There were a few minor things that stuck out.  I was struck by how clean everything was and in particular, I didn’t ever remember thinking public restrooms in the States were all that clean, but I did now.  One day shortly after I had arrived home I was walking to a store near my parents’ house and came to an intersection.  A car approached and I waited, the car stopped, I still waited, then it dawned on me that the car was actually waiting for me to cross the road.  Pedestrian right-of-way was not something I was used to and my instincts were still following the Indian rules where right-of-way goes to the largest vehicle with pedestrians left to dodge traffic at their own peril.

The other thing I think many people have trouble with after returning from a long trip or any experience that is very meaningful to them but outside and unlike any of the experiences of many of their friends and family, is the interested disinterest.  Interested disinterest questions often take some form of “So, how was your trip?”  It was great, thanks.  It’s often not so much as disinterest in whatever a person has done but rather disinterest in having a conversation that one can’t contribute too.  Few people enjoy monologues, especially when they are not the ones speaking, and I don’t enjoy them when I am speaking.  After unique experiences, people often find themselves bursting with things to tell and no one particularly interested in hearing about it.  I had returned from enough trips not to be bothered by interested disinterest.  My outlet for my experiences is this website, and should people be interested they can ask the right questions, or read my site then ask the right questions.

During my time at home I enjoyed the company of my family and friends, and was delighted that I was able to see more of them than I had expected.  Given that many of my friends from graduate school are now spread in jobs across the country and the world.  Luckily several passed through Southern California during my 4 months home, from places such as Scotland, Vienna, New Orleans, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Washington D.C., and Seattle.  As much as I enjoy traveling, it was also good to be home.

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