We returned yesterday from two weeks in the U.S. Virginia, New York and a cruise to Florida and the Bahamas. It was a truly wonderful vaca/holiday for our family and heartening how many family and friends we were able to see and enjoy. Also, and I can hardly believe it myself, I no longer look like a ghost. I keep thinking I can pull off sickly pale with flair a la Nicole Kidman. But the problem is I weigh like 100 more pounds than she does. I can’t even convert that to kilos or stones.
We have traveled back to the U.S. like ten times since moving to London. But the return trips only get harder now that we know each time we leave we are taking away from someone a grandchild/nephew/cousin.
Also this go-round Bryan and I began exhibiting strange behavior back in our homeland. We both realized by the end of the first week that every time we would pass people have a conversation and hearing the accents, the first thought to cross our minds was “oh my goodness, Americans!” as though we were in the middle of a pub in the English countryside and couldn’t believe the coincidence. It scares me that I am at that point where maybe I am having a little cultural confusion. Like when I asked for a tea towel at my mother-in-law’s to clean up a spill and the family was reduced to hysterics. Wait, it’s not called that? Ugh.
I walk around grocery stores there for hours, seriously mesmerized. There are at least twenty new flavors of Goldfish. Whoa. And then it hit me: this is not the awe of a temporarily returned expat, this is the awe of a current city dweller with only brief semi-annual forays back to the suburbs, regardless of nation. I don’t even know what I am any more. I like small shops and walking. But holy shit, twenty flavors of Goldfish. That is worth a big house and a car.
One thing I know I am is chubbier. The cruise was all-you-can-eat (natch) and my mission in the States is always to indulge as many cravings as possible. Fritos. Doughnuts. Hot dogs. Bagels. BACON. Oh, plus I haven’t exercised in two years. And honestly, this type of thing doesn’t bother me that much except it is expensive buying new work clothes.
The only thing that brought me any comfort as I “sailed” through the Caribbean is that when a West Indian tells you you’re fat, it’s a compliment. Oh girl, you got fat now.