Home Sweet Home
Now to rescue the Pages of Euphoria
from the abyss of neglect of which I had to surrender it to during my travels through Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. Is a Ouija board necessary for its
resurrection? Maybe Whoopie Goldberg's spiritually in tuned character from the movie Ghost? I think not....some quick thoughts on adjusting back to the land of uncle sam should be sufficient to bring these pages back from the grave. The adjustments that I have been experiencing include small and big differences that everyone living in the US would mostly either take for granted, not know anything different, or simply not even notice. Yet for this short termed expatriate who forgot the ways of the west for nearly 8 months...American ways have come surging back in a vivid pulse of imagery, sounds, smells, tastes and cultural customs (like celebrity worship and fairly uncorrupted police). And as I am a fiend for stimulation, my adjustment period thus far has given me much food for thought....journalized thought.
Hail all to the stars and stripes; the red, white and blue. The land of luxury, amenity, obesity, world dominance, and people like Paris Hilton who have job titles like "socialite." I left a country with a bouffant sporting and wmd wielding regime leader as a northern neighbor to come home to 10 times the security risk. Everyone thought I was crazy for going to SKorea, a land perceived to be on the brink of nuclear Holocaust or something. Instead I found it to be a peaceful (when sober) land of extremely complimentary men, timid women, good food, and better noray bongs. Additionally, I would say that Korea generally has more law abiding citizens than the US. In other words I was completely safe. I was checking my old cell phone messages from the month of April 06 (when I left) to hear friends giving passionate instructions on getting to the American Embassy, getting registered and "find[ing] and get behind a God damned marine with an M16 if shit turns sour," (Tom Sullivan). In an unrelated yet equally interesting message another friend described a night that was made legendary when I thought I was a Jesus lizard and that I had the ability to walk on water when I mistakenly plunged into a dimly lit backyard pond much less intended for wading and much more intended to be a urine receptacle....disgusting. The memory flooded back and just as quickly as it did, a smile stretched ear to ear.
Most Impacting Adjustments:
-Brothers: Emotional bearhugs, violent wrestling matches, comparisons of muscle size and strength, who has accumulated more abdominal fat, who has had more success with females, and toasting of champagne (cider for baby Z) and puffing on cigars while playing mario kart on nintendo 64 until 5am.
-Parents: My mother seriously made a t-shirt with my face silk screened onto it. When I ascended the airport escalator, she was emphatically waving it like she was a member of lil Jon's entourage repping his hood. This special lady has a serious taste for flare. Pops is the same animal activist with hair like a mad scientist, who knows how to make a dollar out of 15 cents.
-American Football: This favorite sport of mine was sorely missed, but partying with swedes and vespa joy rides filled the void in a major way. Since my return, this sport has all but consumed my life. Saturday, I cheered my youngest brother Zach on at his semi final 4A state championship football game in Tacoma, WA....a place where you truly have to tuck your chain in. Sunday, I watched the colts dismantle the Eagles with a few friends at Cole's new house. We sipped first on Pabst Blue Ribbon, and secondly on Coles smooth dessert Cabernet sauvignon
wine, and watched both the game and Cole decorate his live Christmas tree with a glee that I haven't seen since introducing my Korean students to Hot Tamales. I emailed my NFL Seahawk connection 48 hours ago, and I am working with the chain crew on the field tonight, for Monday night football. Look for me on TV. He knows how to take care of me, and I know how to take care of him, as he will quickly find himself in the ownership of a jade dragon I purchased in the Chinatown district of Bangkok. My job title is "Mr. X," a job title that sounds much more ominous and difficult than it is. Enough talk of pigskin.
-Exercise: Returning to the hollowed grounds of my fitness club H.S.A.C, or "H sack" as I like to call it, was in a word wonderful. It definitely thawed some of the ice formed when leaving friends in Korea. Hearing English all around me was a little strange. Being surrounded by white people as I worked on my lats (sounds so funny) seriously felt like something was wrong. I already miss feeling like a celebrity in CIMA, my gym in Pyoungtaek, South Korea.
-sales tax: its horrible. just include it in the damn price. Cambodia has the right idea, no sales tax, and no CHANGE! Cambodian currency does not feature coinage! its beautiful. In fact, sometimes Cambodian currency can consist in non-monetary forms, like
paying for a meal with a wristwatch, and some gum.
-life progression of friends: I had someone who also returned home from being abroad tell me that it was depressing how everyone had stayed the same. I have found the polar opposite, and eat up news of who has mortgages, who became real estate agents, who is getting married, and who hasn't partied in 4 months like a ravenous hyena.
-gas/driving: Haven't driven in 8 months. Speed is one of those male appeals that just always is. It just speaks to our souls. It is up there in the ranks of beer, belching, bench pressing, barbecuing, bikinis, taking pride in a well grown beard, and I am stopping there. And who doesn't enjoy a drive at night on a curvy road through the woods....downshifting from 4th to 3rd around a bend with your windows down and your system up. However, it wasn't an appeal that I missed while enjoying Korea's wonderful buses, trains and subways. Avoiding the danger, responsibility, and price of owning a car was a freedom that far exceeded the joys of driving.
Other adjustments that I no longer have energy to write about due to my 5am wakeup from the floor of my friends house and lingering affliction of jetlag:
-consumption of alcohol on streets being illegal
-all around english everywhere
-assisted living, i.e. living back with the P's
-back in the realm of American music, film, and television
I figure once I have fully adjusted back to being at home, it will be once again time to breach the
borders of this great nation and take another country by storm. I am thinking either somewhere in South America, Spain, Italy, or France. Basically, anywhere but Australia. Thats a ways off though and for now I will enjoy the warm company of my family and friends, and savor job searching for interim employment at the Alderwood Mall. Im at home, in my bedroom/office looking west at the puget sound and the Emonds ferry thats crossing it and feel like I'm in a dream....one from which I do not want to wake.