It’s a little weird to be back — weird because it’s really not that weird. I expected some great warm, fuzzy American feeling to overcome me once I reached O’Hare, but it looked and felt like every other airport around the world, except they have the stupid body scanners working now. I haven’t driven a car in almost 300 days, but it was just like riding a bike. I quickly slipped back into suburban American life like I never left. However, there were some things that surprised me — my parent’s dishwasher, for example. It’s ginormous! Or at least it seemed like it compared to the one in my flat that can barely hold two meal’s worth. I also couldn’t get over how fat a 2-liter of pop is here. Every time someone in my family pulls one out I crack up and say “It’s so chubby!”
At O’Hare I did experience some reverse culture shock, in the bathroom of all places. In the UK and Europe public restrooms (“toilets”) almost always have a full door — no opening underneith or cracks on the sides. The only way to tell if it’s occupied is by checking if there’s a red line on the lock, or by simply knocking or trying to press the door open. It feels like it should be the other way around considering Americans have the reputation of being prudes and privacy-obsessed, while Europeans are more “free,” with their nude beaches and all. I know that grown women are not interested in peeking through the door cracks, but the girls in my first grade class used to, and ever since then I’ve been paranoid about bathroom doors.
In short, it’s good to be back and I’m adjusting to the time and customs, although I did catch myself saying, “Look how long that queue is! I wonder how many tills they have open?” yesterday.