Well, I’m home again, and slowly processing all my experiences, and slowly settling back into normal routines again. It’s harder than I thought it would be, and some little things – such as where I sit to write my blog – I’ve changed, just because I am new, and I didn’t want to simply fall again into old patterns and habits. Funny thing, that.
However, I never had a chance to tell you about the Mid-West (or about Thanksgiving), and I know there’s a fair few people who want to read about my experiences of their part of the US, so you shall have it. Part of it. Here goes:
Yellow school buses are real. They really are! Just like in the movies (although they’re not magic, as far as I can tell). Know what else is real? Yellow traffic lights that hang on a rope in the centre of the road. And really boring street names, like 90th St (YES! And 32nd St, and 48th St. Just like in the movies!) and rows of timber houses with no front fences and no front gates, and big deciduous trees that grow right up next to places, like the owners have absolutely no idea about bushfire safety (they don’t have bushfires, apparently), just like in the movies. And rows of letterboxes with those little flags that the postie puts up to let you know you’ve got a letter. Yes!
So here’s the thing…you might be picking up on a theme here…if LA felt like Melbourne, and Hollywood was small and grimy and a lot like Carlton or some place in Melbourne (I did love it by the way), the first morning I woke up in Michigan all I could think of was that I’d woken up on the set of “The Fugitive”. The culture shock I’d expected on arriving in LA and didn’t happened for me a week later when arriving in Grand Rapids, Michigan.And…SQUIRRELS! In people’s front gardens. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Driving on the wrong side of the road. Dr Pepper with breakfast. Creamer in coffee (I’ll explain that one later). Orange cheese. Deep fried turkeys (YES. No, I didn’t eat one. Yes, they are real).
Sigh. Still processing all this. Can you tell? Still adjusting to being home, and, strangely, mourning the distance. Mourning the loss of a place that’s still there. Expecting that soon, in January perhaps, there’ll be a knock on my front door and there will be all the people I met in Grand Rapids dropping in for a coffee.
If only it were that easy…