I replied... "They shouldn't have waited."
That little bit of mutual agreement was helpful because it shut down any further argument on the matter. No reason to keep asking "how?" or "why?" because we were both mutually just as shocked.
I absolutely agreed with her. I was JUST as baffled, bewildered, stunned, amazed, sure that I should NOT have been on that flight- having been 15 minutes late.
So, it's been A MONTH back here now. I'm clear-headed enough to realize at this point that this move just might be a little longer than a "holiday" and that.... that's really ok. It feels good. I feel at this point, it really was the right decision.
But just as Taiwan wasn't just all "mangos! shaved ice! beaches! beautiful temples! dumplings! nightmarket fun!" New York isn't just .... "Pumpkin pie! Apple picking! Fresh cider! Christmas songs on the radio! All the kinds of breakfast cereal you could ever want! A million tv channels! Kohl's!"...
The not so pretty underbelly of "life stuff" showed itself in Taiwan at times as my four years went on there - bills, work, arguments, tears, boredom, etc. on random days and being home, I know that will be the case here too. It becomes "regular life" at either end at some point. The trick is to make your own adventures wherever you land but even when you do, "wherever you go.... there you are". 2016-2017 was a rough year mentally/physically for me personally and I feel like it's slowly.... getting better but in "fits and starts". Two steps forward for every one back I'd say.
As far as reverse culture shock, there's definitely been some things here. Even just on the plane coming here- the sound of tinkling china, metal utensils, and clinking glasses in Prestige Class- it was so different. It was different than any sound that the plastic cups and containers would make in Economy class. Most of the "shock" has been pleasant.... some things a little more crazy than others but to start...
1.) the sound of birds chirping in the morning
2.) the sound of a lawn mower mowing the grass
3.) the smell of freshly mowed grass
4.) the sound of crickets at night
( you can tell my parents don't live in the city)
5.) the sight and sound of an "ice cream truck!" ( usually it's the garbage trucks that make music in Taiwan)
6.) the sight of an old guy at "Planet Fitness" wearing a "Thank God For Fox News" t-shirt.
(Ohhh Lord.... I'm suddenly REALLY missing all of those Chinglish shirts in Taiwan)
7.) calling my cousin on my cell phone and not thinking about the time difference, no need to do the math in my head.
8.) Hearing my mom say things like "Bear to the right" (meaning "lean over to") when driving (me thinking: "Where's the bear???") and "I'll leave the door ajar" and also thinking that's funny/strange leaving it... a jar? Wasn't it just a door a minute ago?
9.) Hearing old ladies talking about "needing to find a bra that fits" while waiting to go into Kohl's - ohhhh the hilarity and awkwardness of understanding everything that you hear, here. lol.
10.) People holding the door open for you going into a store-- even when you are "SO far" - at least a good minute or so- away and you kind of smile and awkwardly run so that they're not standing there holding it for you too long.
11.) Fellow drivers who flash their lights at you while you're driving to let you know there's a cop parked up ahead and to maybe slow down a bit ( SO appreciated, I really did forget about that. I LOVE you people!).
12.) The sight of diet ads on tv. Americans are too obsessed with diets. In Taiwan people don't diet. People may say (mothers or old aunties and grandmothers might tell you directly) "You're so fat, She's so fat, I'm so fat, He's so fat...etc." but then they will go hiking or biking or go to the gym. No diets. Drink LOTS of water, maybe drink a special tea but then... yeah, just eat whatever you want ( portions are smaller too) and workout.
13.) Random acts of kindness. New Yorkers (statewide) MAY be busy- but they ARE kind. Some examples I've seen this past month alone include- one guy giving me a free "day pass" to use the gym at Planet Fitness my first day there when I didn't have my bank router number and couldn't sign up officially as a member yet. They guy was like "promise you'll sign up?..." and just let me in. No questions. Then, this past week, a woman, at the bus stop in Queens when I was on my way to LaGuardia for my trip to Chicago, grabs my wrist and asks in a soft but strong Irish brough "Are you lost?" and then goes on to tell me how I can get a free pass to ride the bus to the airport without using my metrocard. And then, just today, driving home from the train station at New Hamburg - a guy (who LOOKED like DJ Khaled and who we could hear.... or more appropriately FEEL coming up behind us because he was blasting the bass on his radio/cd player listening to music) pulled up next to my mother's car. I rolled down the window and he motioned and said "your jacket" - seeing it sticking outside of the door. And then zoomed off in front of us, that bass bouncing him along on his way.
I've been holding onto money fairly well and taking my time with little trips into NYC. The biggest expense I put money toward was for a trip to Chicago this past weekend. (more about that in the next post). I'm JUST starting to put out my resume and went on my first school interview today.I will hear back from the first school that I just interviewed at in a week. In the meantime I've decided to spend time each day writing. At least a good 3 hours. I have an idea for a fictional book that I'd like to get off the ground and so, while "waiting" for this school, I'm going to distract myself/be productive with that. Writing a little each day- creating scenarios and characters, etc.
My "predictable routine" here for the past month has typically included a regular diet of - gym, church, Yankees ( before they LOST to the Astros ahhhh) and "catching up" with the Kardashians (hey, don't judge- we all have our vices. Whew, talk about culture shock though!)
Tomorrow is Halloween. My first official holiday here since being back. I'M not getting dressed up but MINK is. She will be a "Meow-igator"/Alligator.... for as long as she lets me keep her in her costume - so most likely, for 10 minutes. :)
So that's it up to this point, for now. Healing. Taking quiet time. Enjoying the little things. Prioritizing.
As one late, great Brooklynite once said "It's all good baby, baayyyyybe."