Being back in the US after over a year abroad has brought forth a wide range of emotions for me. For the last 12 months, I’ve essentially been living in a dorm, London style. The dorm, i.e. tall, narrow row house in a posh neighborhood a few blocks from Abbey Road, was packed with American interns, two in every room, basement to 4th floor. Ants invaded, our heating broke, the boiler shrieked, the stove fell apart (on Thanksgiving, of course) – I’ll admit the situation had its ups and downs for sure. But overall, I had a great time, met some amazing people, and saw things I’d never otherwise know even existed.
Which brings me to the present moment: living at home with my parents. The contrasts are stark. I get my own bathroom. My own bedroom. My own bed that is not the size of a 10-year old’s. And the joy of re-discovering all those things I forgot I’d left behind. I also don’t fall asleep laughing over a ridiculous story my roommate just told. Or come home to 15 people hanging out on the back patio. Or stroll a block down the road to The Prince Alfred pub for a pint on Tuesday Quiz Night.
Being back reminds me that what I once took for granted is not necessarily the norm outside of the US. Those enormous tubs of butter-like spreads now seem big enough for a city, not a family. A Sunday night at the grocery store is possible. And when I cross the street these days, I have to conciously think to myself “look left!” so as not to get run over. It will take me some time to get a handle on that one…
Being home is wonderful- reuniting with friends and family, going to my old favorite places. And the foods I craved – Chick-fil-A, P.F.Changs, soft shell crabs– are no longer an ocean away. So now I just have to figure out what’s next. More easily said than done.