Remember that one time I said I’ve have guest bloggers? Well, I’m finally having another guest post from the same lovely who wrote the first one, Emma! This is her short reflection on being back home and how convenient it can be. I can’t help, but agree with a lot of her points. Except the ground floor first floor thing, I’ve always thought the french were crazy for that point. You can find her other post here!
I have hit a momentous mark in being home from France: As of today, it has been one month and ten days. And I have to admit, I’m starting to feel a bit more… normal. I know that everyone talks about how hard it is coming back to the U.S. after being away for an extended period of time, but I always forget how true it is. And even though it has been a month and ten days, and I can maintain a conversation without taking too much time to find the right words, there are still a few quirks about the American lifestyle that I still haven’t gotten used to. Again.
1) The ground floor is also the first floor: After spending all that time in France thinking “Ok, so I have to go to the fifth floor, which is actually the sixth floor”, I now find myself climbing one flight of stairs, looking at the 2 marked on the wall and thinking “How funny. They skipped a floor and didn’t realize.” I’ve been thinking this subconsciously for the past month and ten days, and finally today it hit me: “No, stupid. You’re doing it wrong”. Good.
2) Six o’clock a.m. wake-up calls: Not from my alarm. No. Even though I now have a job (yes it’s temporary, but I’m proud and will shamelessly advertise this fact in this post!) and am taking classes, I really don’t have to be anywhere until noon. Even with a few hours in the morning to run or (more frequently) plan classes and do homework, I still don’t set my alarm until a leisurely 7:30. But without fail, 6:00 hits, and I’m wide awake. I can’t get out of bed on principle; I need my eight (ok, seven) hours! So I just… lay there. I mean, I’ve been sleeping on this schedule for the past 23 some odd years of my life. Why would nine months take all of that away from me? It’s cruel.
3) The radio: I can understand it. I mean, I did reach a level of comprehension in French that allowed me to understand just about everything (even group conversation of five or more people! Again, excuse me for my hubris), but I had forgotten the ease of driving around with NPR, understanding all the witty banter and inside cultural jokes and twists. Word-play is one of the most underrated arts in today’s era, but boy do you appreciate it after the pathetic puns you try to make in a foreign language (e.g. when trying to get a child to eat a kiwi- It’s a kiOUI, not a kiNON).
4) Streets: They are HUGE. I mean, you can park cars on either side of it and STILL drive through. And I don’t mean parking cars by driving up on the sidewalk to do so. I mean six inches from the curb and you can still get your SUV through. ‘Nuf said.
5) Drinking in peace: I’m talking water. Not only am I no longer harassed about having a water bottle with me when I’m out and about, I am joined by the majority of the population. Instead of being gawked at and asked why, I’m told “You should bring your water bottle. It’s a hot one today” by just about everyone.
So though this list is not exhaustive, it does give some food for thought. You never know what you may end up missing. Maybe it’s because they are so little and ingrained in our society that they make themselves particularly loud and obvious at this point in my re-integration. Of course I miss the food and the beer and the wine and the people and the travel and the history and the culture, who wouldn’t? But these subjects are still too painful to elaborate upon at this time. Give me a year, a month and ten days, and then maybe we can talk.