Boas Festas and Sweet Tea

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.

One of my favorite things about being home...

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.

And the very best part about being home

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3 Responses to Boas Festas and Sweet Tea

  1. Steve Pierce says:

    Krista, To a lesser degree I will be experiencing the same thing when I return from Belize later this month. I find that while I am in Belize, away from so much “stuff” I can settle into a simpler, more peaceful state. In a sense it is a kind of retreat, only to return to the reality of home. It is the opposite for you – having the simpler live in CV your reality, and the hyper-culture of the US with all it trappings the interruption.

    I am glad you got to visit with family and friends over Christmas.
    Happy New Year and may God richly bless you with joy and peace in 2012/

    Love,
    Mr. P

  2. REBrown says:

    It’s overwhelming to me and I live here all the time!

  3. Rob S. says:

    Nice post, KP. For the record, I am still afraid of (and sometimes for) America. My relationship with our country has definitely changed since I came to Cape Verde almost three-and-a-half years ago. In some ways, I miss it a lot. I miss the sense of humor and the access to nice things and open spaces and dogs that aren’t all diseased and stray and straight lines and brick and GRASS everywhere. In other ways, I am so happy to be in a simpler, more “traditional” country like Cape Verde. All the bullshit that goes on in the U.S. and, more and more, the rest of the Westernized world, in terms of materialism is really just not sustainable, although nobody wants to think about that it seems. I really hope that America starts to re-prioritize and re-humanize itself, but I worry often that perhaps we’ve gone to far. I don’t know. For now I guess I am still enjoying the fact that we live on a little tropical island that is war-free, full of promise, and home to a rich, history-filled culture. That said, enjoy it while you’re here.

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