A photo of DC’s Chinatown, the most contrived Chinatown I’ve seen
We’ve been back since June, and it feels like FOREVER ago that we were in China. Oh, how quickly we forget! My bank account, on the other hand, serves as a daily reminder that we’re back home.
It’s been interesting getting back into the swing of things back here in the states. Some expats joke about effects of counter-culture shock. When you’re so used to living abroad that things at home – the simplest things – make you feel like a fish out of water. For some people who have lived abroad for decades, it can be the simplest things: speaking English on a daily basis, not being the important American at the bar, or even street-crossing etiquette (ie; Americans’ adherence to it vs. South Asia’s disregard of it). Though it’s a bit on par with the whole “First World Problem” joke that’s been circling the web lately, there’s certainly some truth to it.
Something’s been on my mind a lot lately, and it’s spurred getting notes from friends abroad about their travels to exotic places. I find myself, suddenly, wishing I still lived in China, wishing I could be on vacation this Thanksgiving, and wishing I lived in a cheaper place so I could save more money to do more things.
This has been the hardest thing about coming back to the states from living abroad, when every second is a new moment and every location is exotic. It’s been hard to blog even, when there’s not a wrinkled street vendor selling steamed buns on every corner, or weird dried goods at the market. It’s been hard to find topics to write about when my days consist of writing at the computer and then working at the cheese shop and then watching a movie with the DiploMan.
But whoa, reality check – I shouldn’t need to be an expat living abroad to feel special or important or go on cool adventures or experience new things. We don’t need to pack up and travel and share photos of exotic beaches in order for our friends and family to think we’re important, or for me to feel accomplished for that matter. We don’t need to have mind-altering experiences in order to be creative, and we don’t have to fight a third culture in order to live in the moment and have new experiences.
DC on a beautiful Fall day
And thus with a newfound spark, I’m off to New Orleans today to spend a lovely five days exploring lots of new things. First a Thanksgiving Feast tonight with some lovely ladies and gents, all whom love food. We’ve got lots planned for the menu, including a classic New Orleans-style oyster and cornbread stuffing. This weekend, we’ve got some city seein’ to do plus reservations at Root and Cochon.
I’m thankful for these new experiences at home, and thankful that I’ve got friends to share them with. Happy Thanksgiving, wherever you are!!