November 18, 2010

"Oh, say can you see?..."

My mind keeps jumping from, "I want to get on a plane and leave this very second!" to "Man. I'm gonna miss this. It wouldn't be so bad to stay a bit longer."

And since this is a pre-Thanksgiving post, I'm gonna stick with the positives. Some things we're thankful for here in our home country and what we're choosing to do without by moving overseas. Things that make the USA, "home." Because I'm American I'm going to put it in a top 10 list.

10. Anonymity. Oh to blend in. When we got off the plane in NYC 17 months ago, we instantly became just 3 more faces in the crowd. No one noticed us. Even in the US with all our diversity, this white-girl can disappear in a mall, sit and eat without being watched at a restaurant, and even go to church without feeling like I'm sticking out like a sore thumb.  That will disappear as soon as we step off the plane in Asia. We'll be 1 foot taller than everyone on average, have "sharper noses," and in general, call attention to ourselves every moment in public just by being non-Asian.
9. Pork. BBQ. Specifically Sonny's BBQ, my Uncle Ronnie's BBQ, and even the new found love of the BBQ joint at the end of town that is constantly smoking ribs. Man oh man. We will give up pork- even having it in our house or using old utensils/cookware that's ever touched it- willingly, but will miss it all the same. Anyone heard the comedian Jim Gaffigan's bit on bacon? Hilarious.
8. The "Size 9" section at Payless Shoe source. That 1 foot taller thing goes for feet and shoes as well. I have so many friends here with feet as big as mine...and bigger! My niners will no longer be anonymous in 2 weeks.
7. The assumption that my children are boys by the general public. When people do notice us in public, it's often because of our boys. Not ONCE have I been asked, "Is it boy or she?" Maybe it's just an easy opener to approach the white people and start a conversation, but it's just been nice that everyone here can clearly tell that my boys are boys. Even when Isaac's hair was long.
6. Having heart to heart conversations with friends face to face.  Even though I'm sure our friends are glad they don't have to hear any more stories about Asia, it has been so nice just chatting. Never once having to ask what a verb meant and hoping you get what they say. They call them "heart languages" for a reason.
5.  Tank-tops, shorts, and flip flops in 90 degree weather. We get to keep the flip-flop aspect (though new pairs will be hard to come by...see point 8) but its nice wearing shorts (nice modest bermuda shorts!) and not have to think twice that I might ruin my entire family's reputation and remove all virtue from my character simply because I wanted to be a bit cooler outside.

4. Central A/C everywhere. 

3. American football. Its so distinctly American. Japanese and parts of the Caribbean have baseball, China has basketball, the whole world has soccer, but the US and Football...we will miss you on Sundays (and Mondays and Thursdays and Saturdays).

2. Dinner time = 6-7pm-ish. In the US a normal family dinner with children, etc is around that time. It's our culture. It's the flow of our day. 6:00 to 7:00 is HIGHLY associated in my mind with dinner time. Most nights at home will still work fine for that, but where we're going most folks eat sometime after 8pm. Ugh, I would gain so much weight. Sounds like something inconsequential, but imagine your neighbors thinking you're weird because of what time you eat dinner?

1. Grandparents at home and on-hand. Aunts, Uncles, and cousins close-by. There's just nothing like it!