America – Recently I went home for Christmas and I found it different than before, almost like seeing a childhood friend after many years and hardly recognizing them. I found it strange and unfamiliar, with cutting-edge technology, increased prices, and updated buildings. It wasn’t the place I left a year and a half ago.
I had trouble remembering to bring my ID so that I could enjoy a glass of wine at a restaurant. I had trouble remembering to flush my toilet paper down the toilet, instead of putting it in a wastebasket as we do in CV. I had trouble keeping up with time, appointments and meeting. I kept saying por favor instead of “please” and tchau instead of “bye.” I kept reminding myself that hot water came out of the faucet, not just cold water. And as I brushed my teeth, I found myself trying not to swallow any water, yet suddenly remembering that I could actually drink the water that ran so freely from the faucet.
I observed as friends and family members chose between a Droid or an Iphone, a Kindle Fire or an Ipad. As my family opened presents for a massive four hours on Christmas Day, I was left overwhelmed. As I looked around my bedroom, I felt suffocated with things — stuff and more stuff. America is truly grand – eating at any time of day you wish, going to the store and finding exactly what you came for, everything you want or need is accessible. However, I found it all a little too much – a sense of privilege rather than gratitude, a sense of loneliness rather than familiarity.
My trip home was glorious – it was just different. I loved spending time with family and friends, eating all my favorite foods, taking multiple showers, and living like a princess. Yet, my view of America has changed — maybe forever, maybe not. Maybe it’s not such a bad thing. Maybe it’s a part of living, seeing and growing.