Once-Every-Two-Year US Observations

It is inevitable – traveling fairly seamlessly between cultures still makes for some interesting discoveries/observations while being back in the US. I apologize ahead of time for the sarcasm. It is always a bit strange to come back. Even my kids experience interesting moments, like visiting a public library for the first time. I know that most suburban mothers live for this place. Please do not tell DCFS.

Sad note – no more Macaroni Grills in the Chicago suburbs. I mourn my former work place.

True confessions – I don’t get a US SIM card when I return to the States, so it is an extra bonus to be off internet and social media for the most part while here. This means that I don’t take my phone with me everywhere I go, which means I don’t take photos. So my time in the US has been slow in that realm. Definitely not on my work game, either, but I’m trying. Being on the go with no internet, no office, no desk, living out of my rental car and 4 suitcases and staying at parents or in-laws every other night equals lack of productivity. Don’t judge until you have tried this lifestyle. Not conducive to administrators or students or international team leaders, which we are all of the above.

I was jetlagging really badly (and good-ly) while in IL this season, so I’m in the “get up at 5am, go to bed at 10pm” mode. I hate it (my kids feel the need to get up with me and bother me while I am trying to work; I cannot watch tv to save my life at night b/c I just crash) and love it (devotion time with God is at an all-time high on length and quality, thank you Holy Spirit and JV Board Member, Don Christiansen, as is hairstyling and make-up application, b/c I am not running out the front door, late like a crazy lady) at the same time. I am no longer working until 12/1 am. We’ll see how long this lasts. Class begins in 3 days…

I am writing this in the Downtown Wheaton Starbucks – old stomping grounds LONG before there were ever any Starbucks in the neighborhood. An employee approached me, saying that she remembers me from junior high. Oh my word. She asked me my maiden name. I had to think. It has been 15 years now! I remember her. I didn’t think I’d run into people I know, so it just slipped out “you are still here?”. Oops. I think she was insulted. I am looking for my 14-year-old self and acquaintances when I come back, so I’m not searching the faces of the balding, overweight dudes, wondering if I’ll run into any of my classmates. We were in Costco last time and my sister says, “hey, you went to high school with that worker” – I’d never have imagined. Shouldn’t everyone be living downtown in the Loop? Since I can’t, maybe I should just buy the Bed, Bath and Beyond painting for $20. Speaking of 20, our 20-year WNHS reunion is just around the corner. Oh my word.

Why I prefer being on the Magnificent Mile over the suburbs (see below):

Honestly, everyone in this Starbucks is driving me bonkers. I can hear EVERY SINGLE CONVERSATION. People speak so loudly. They speak about nothing, like their pets’ names. The older guys behind me are talking about colleges for their grandkids. Another guy is talking about tiger sharks (mind you it is -12 degrees Fahrenheit here.) The employees are communicating at full volume. I despise cursing and can hear it. Too much. I thought we Wheatonites were perfect(!) Yet I don’t want to complain because I think it is much easier to share Jesus with people when they are friendly and chatty, but when I am trying to read the stimulating (not) book “How to Read a Book”, I cannot concentrate to save my life. Did I mention that class starts again in three days. Trying not to panic.

Instead I am choosing to be thankful for bffs like miss Kate here (my only friend pic), and Annie and Bob and Lexie to keep us sane and grounded. And of course, it has been a blast to spend way too much money at Costco and at strip malls and be with our families over the holidays, but I will save that for another post.

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