06 January 2012

Thoughts on Life in America

Sorry for such a long pause in posts. I've been in the US for four weeks and will return to Uganda in another two or so. It's been a whirlwind for sure...visiting friends, hanging out with family. My mom is currently in the hospital, which partially explains why I have no thought-provoking posts as of late. But let's face it, sitting around a hospital does give some time for reflection, although maybe not the in-depth, library and information science centered reflections I was planning for these weeks. So, instead, I'm giving you my simple reflections on American life...the things I've observed in the past four weeks. Life here is so different than my life in Uganda. I definitely believe that reverse culture shock is a real thing!
  • Food. In Uganda it's fairly taboo to carry food and drinks and walk while eating or drinking. It feels weird to stop at Starbucks and then walk out with my drink.
  • Pace of life. Everything happens so much faster here. It took me a good week or two to catch up to how quickly everything moves.
  • Planning. My friends and family can attest to the fact that I am no longer a very good planner. This is a big change for me. Somehow I made the change from having an agenda for every day to living on African time where things happen when they happen. I see this as a good thing.
  • Conversation. No offense to the Americans I've spent time with but conversation feels so shallow. I miss talking about international events, religion, social justice issues, etc.
  • Things. Things everywhere! After spending a year in a developing country, the amount of stuff available here is overwhelming. I am particularly overwhelmed by the bread aisle at the supermarket. In Uganda I have about three choices at the shops near me: small loaf, large loaf, rolls. When I went to buy French bread for Christmas French toast, there was a whole section of French bread alone!
  • Washer and dryer. After hand washing all my clothes for a year these machines are amazing! But I feel like everything I wear is too tight after I put it in the dryer. :) 
  • Assumptions. I find people's comments and assumptions about Africa rather amusing. My favorite was someone who asked me if I see giraffes everyday. I shouldn't laugh at people's ignorance...but sometimes it's just so funny.
  • Cost. Everything is so expensive! I'm trying not to convert into Uganda shillings.
  • The Weather. It's cold! And the Sun feels so far away! Just today I heard a woman say to someone on the phone: "It's a beautiful, sunny day here". Um, it's  less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit and hazy. I guess it's all relative. This is Buffalo, afterall.
  • Driving. Cars move in such orderly paths! Everyone stays in their own lanes (more or less)!
  • Paper towels. In public restrooms.
I suppose by the time all these things become 'normal' again, it will be time to go back to Uganda. :)

And, stay tuned. More posts coming again soon.

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