Friday, April 15, 2011

So ** Grin ** How Do You Like Living in America?

I should probably write more on here about returning to America. That's the purpose of this blog, right?

Frankly, for the first eight months, I was in deep shock, so I couldn't really comment intelligently.

I do feel like I'm finally getting some distance.

I see signs of life: building my business actively, unpacking a few of those boxes from my shipment, making new friends.

So how do I like it here?

Interestingly, now that I'm going on more dates and meeting new people, this subject comes up a lot.

When people ask, I'm usually pretty honest. Sometimes, I feel like I should have nicer, more Pollyanna-ish things to say (especially on a date), but when I operate that way, I start to get really annoyed and want to strangle myself.

So I'm pretty honest. My answers to the 10 most common questions:

1. So. Are you happy to be back?


2. What did you miss most about the US when you were away?

After the first two years away? Not much. Family and certain people.

3. What do you think about Fort Collins?

So small. So young. So ... white. I'm used to a city of 20 million people. What I'm used to doesn't even exist in the States. Though L.A. might be close.

4. Where do you see yourself in a few years?

I'd like to split my time between Asia and the US.

5. Do you want to move back to Asia for good?

Hell no. It's absolute torture coming back when you've been away a few years. I really don't want to go through this again.

6. If it's so great there, why'd you come back here?

Temporary insanity (just kidding). After six years, I was really looking forward to hanging out with family and old friends, and that's been great. I also thought it would be easier to execute a career change, but I think that part would have been just as easy (and less expensive) if I'd stayed in Asia.

7. Don't you like having good food again?

The food in Asia is better and cheaper. And it gets delivered to your door. And someone cooks it for you. And then someone does the dishes for you.

8. Don't you like having TV?

They have English TV in Asia. Which would be great if I ever watched TV.

9. Why don't you talk about it more?

If you've seen as many pairs of eyes glaze over in your life as I have ...

10. What's the best thing about being back here?

**sound of chirping crickets**


The question that rarely gets asked but that I actually like to answer is ...

So what do you miss most about Asia?

I could talk for hours. But see #9 on eyes glazing over.


So there it is. Status update at 10 months stateside. Maybe I'll answer all those questions in six months again and see what's changed.


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  2. Paula, I'd like to hear you answer those same questions! Substitute Canada for America.

  3. Dying to know what "The American" posted! I didn't catch it before he removed it.

  4. Well said, Sarah. And really glad you're not saying Pollyanna-ish things on dates (or anywhere else!).

    I'm in the middle of my first proper Asian experience (rather than Central Asian, which a bit different) in Chongqing for a couple of weeks teaching a course on intercultural awareness (very easy with a group of international students).

    Can already see what you mean about the food and just the scale of the place and population density (33 million people). It's quite awe-inspiring and (at the moment) a little unnerving. Great to experience it if only briefly, though.

    I wonder if the reality of having lived in other cultures is that one never really feels as though one belongs fully anywhere, which on a bad day feels like a curse and on a good day feels like a huge blessing and privilege. And the best bit about it is meeting people who "get" the perspective and emotions that it brings thanks to their own experiences - which neatly segues into a chance to say that I'm really enjoying your blog and would love to hear more about what you miss about Asia.

    Right, off to try and find a village called Ciqikou and go through the usual pantomime of getting fed...

    Have a great weekend. Cai

  5. So true about the glazed over eyes when you start to talk about it...
    All those memories and no one (not even my family) wants to hear about it! *sigh*
    I can relate - talk to me anytime!

  6. I spent one summer in France. It was delightful. I think I would like to live my life on the road, constantly circling the globe, occasionally returning as I pass by again. The world is a wonderful place and I hope to explore it further.

  7. I'll try that, Sarah. Might be cathartic.