It’s been exactly 27 days since we’ve arrived back in the States, and I have to admit I’m still adjusting. It’s been wonderful and hectic, as every vacation here has been for the past few years. But this time, the vacation is continuing into real life. (Although we’re not quite there yet.)
Vacation mode along the Hudson in New York City
I may be back in my homeland, but I’m now here with a slightly altered perspective. It’s undoubtedly the same beautiful place I’ve longed for, and I’m thankful for that – with the exception of a couple things. The most prominent one being traffic. Having not driven even once in more than a year, it was honestly a bit of a jolt being thrown into 4-lane, bumper-to-bumper traffic, lines of shiny cars stretching along the steaming pavement as far as the eye can see. Where is everyone going on this one road at exactly the same time?
Luckily I haven’t experienced a stand-still yet, but it’s only a matter of time. And it’s not just the number of automobiles – it’s the way they drive, the most accurate description of which is aggressively. Man, are they aggressive. As I type this, I’m wincing a bit as I know I’ve lapsed into this dangerous category more than once in the last few weeks. (Note to self: give myself more time to get everywhere.)
Another adjustment for me has been grocery shopping. I guess any kind of shopping could fall into this category, but groceries is what I’m experiencing these days and it is crazy. The selection of bottled waters alone takes up aisle space greater than all the beverages in the biggest Swedish food market combined. Heaping baskets of fruit snacks in five new colorful flavors greet each consumer at the entryway, begging to be noticed and grabbed by the handful. I’m realizing that my go-to meals in Sweden aren’t so go-to here. Try finding halloumi cheese in the US. It’s no small feat, I can assure you.
I can say, though, that I’m loving the heat. I’ve missed this heat, even when it’s sweltering and sweaty. And I’m loving all the people I’ve missed so very much: being a part of their lives again, being a quick phone call or drive away.
Thanks for taking me back, America. Now let’s see about starting a real life here.