After living in Egypt since September 2011, I’ve now been back in America for four days. My first evening was in New York City, and since then, I’ve been back home in New Hampshire. Many things have struck me, and in no particular order or exhaustive listing:
- Trees. So many trees! The greenery and colors are fantastic, and the sheer amount of green space and vegetation is stunning upon re-entry. America really is a bountiful land (millennia of active stewardship by native peoples may play a significant role in this reality).
- The Internet is so fast! Even the year prior, living on a university campus in Northern Ireland, I rarely attained even a quarter of the reliable speed of the Internet back home. This has an appreciable effect on my own productivity — and scares me when I read about ideas floating around internet service providers about increasing rate caps on Internet usage and access.
- It is a wonderful thing to be able to completely communicate in your own language, including a mastery of embedded meanings and nuances. There are too many instances (most of them ‘invisible’ and hard to even explain) that just feel so good to be able to communicate at a higher level with your fellow human beings. My first day, I couldn’t believe how cheerful it can be — if you proceed with cheer in your own demeanor — to interact with people in public.
- As a converse, I find myself sometimes strangely nervous during some interactions (e.g., trying to return an item at a store, and with a waiter), and my quick thought on this is, perhaps knowing the ‘proper’/'correct’ way to act during certain circuimstances adds a certain normative burden on the entirety of that interaction. E.g., if I don’t answer the waiter’s query within a particular timeframe, I know they will assume something, so I try to prevent that from happening because its not what I want to convey, and so on. Sometimes ignorance to these particularities — or doing a better job ignoring their own creation in my mind — would be of great benefit.
- American media is staggeringly poor, particularly in what stories ‘it’ chooses to focus on. There has got to be a revolution in how we understand events around our communities and the world sometime soon.
- More coming soon…
All in all, its so wonderful to be back home. After living abroad for two years, I am thrilled for the chance to be back in my own country / community and to be able to live, work, and grow amidst the lessons here.