Monday, December 22, 2008

Aux Etats-Unis

The weirdest part about being back is that it's not weird at all. The trip was hell, 17 hours of pure travel, so many bags and heavy bottles of wine and cartons of Gauloises and Xanax and sleep-deprivation and shitty plane food. But as soon as I walked out of the gates at JFK and saw my Dad I cried like a baby and kind of didn't stop until I fell asleep last night at 10pm. I cried when I saw NY taxis and signs in English and a Dunkin Donuts and when my Dad spoke to the parking attendant in English. I cried while going over the Verrazano Bridge and crossing into Pennsylvania and I really cried when I saw my dog. And then all of the sudden I was eating Chinese food at the dining room table and my sister was talking about field hockey and I was thinking about how I was tired/wanted to get stoned and then everything was back to normal and Paris never happened and I never before had thought in French or shopped at Monoprix or slept with a British doctor or watched the Eiffel Tower loom while taking the 6 train to school. Suddenly I was home and it was freezing outside and the Christmas tree was in the family room and my Stepmom had bought some more ceramic Santa Clauses in an effort to be "less tacky" (cue: irony) and I was sitting in bed on Facebook and wondering when I could sneak out the back door for a cigarette. And Paris was so far away, 3700 miles to be exact, and I felt like I should have savored my last moments more, even though for the past week and a half I've walked around murmuring "this is my last time on this street," "this is my last time seeing my crepe guy," "this is my last metro ride."

Apparently NYU sent my family a letter home about how to handle students coming back from a trip abroad. When I made an obnoxious comment about how US money makes less sense(/cents! pun!) than the Euro since it's all one color/size, my Dad laughed and said, "NYU told us that you would be a little negative about your home country!" I'm so happy to be back, it's just that I'm not used to it yet, not at all. I didn't know where I was when I woke up this morning and it doesn't help that I have slept in my bedroom at my Dad's house about 15 nights in the past year. It takes time to carve out homes and when you're in college you leave them as soon as you put down the knife. So au revoir, Paris. I will hopefully be back to admire your beautiful men and practice my already-dying French and enjoy a cigarette without getting evil American stares.



Anonymous said...

You sound eerily like I did when I returned from Spain...they said I would have reverse culture shock, and I sort of did, but in a good way. SHOCK! American outlets - no need for an adapter. Friendly waiters? What's that? Going to the grocery and speaking English? Wow!

But there were things that bugged me too. I mean, friendly waiters are great, but I missed not having to form a relationship with them. "Hi, I'm ______ and I'll be your server." Blah I don't care. I also missed not having to apologize profusely for bumping someone. In Spain, you don't even acknowledge that you bumped them. Just keep going your merry way. Hah.

Denesteak said...

I remember that letter! When I got back to prague and read it, it was like, "Do not be surprised if your child does not seem to find anything interesting or is constantly bored." Please, I was so pleased to be back in the US. I mean study abroad was such a great, great experience. But it also made me appreciate what I had at home even more.