Thirty days in North America and the following squished and/or continues to squish my brain:
1) Despite spending the month of June split between southern California and the most southern city in the entire nation of Canada, during the day, I’ve been caught running around in jeans, a shirt, jacket, scarf and gloves while others run amok in beaters (vests) and shorts. In air conditioned homes I sip hot water to not have to walk around in a blanket. I currently sleep in thermals.
2) I dug deep, got in touch with my internal cheeseball, made peace with her and began to (occasionally) wear sunglasses indoors. My brother, with whom I was crashing with in California returned home at approximately 5:00 pm one evening to find me wrapped, on his couch in a plaid wool blanket, sunglasses on my face, shades drawn throughout the main living area, all windows shut to maintain approximately 79 degrees Fahrenheit / 26 degrees Celsius, and every blind and curtain I could close, shut to their capacity. Asking what the hell was wrong with me, I responded that the sun, which filtered through the trees, danced through the few inches of blinds that didn’t fully veil the windows in his ceiling was bouncing off of everything, including the face of a clock behind me, then somewhere back onto the television and seemingly ever other reflective surface. The ordeal was making me nauseous whenever the wind would blow causing the branches above to sway. The U.S. seems to be a lot shinier than Thailand.
3) Naturalizing back into North American culture watching hours upon hours of Law and Order, Criminal Minds and sprinklings of Yo Gabba Gabba seemed completely sane to me my first two weeks this side of the planet. When asked why, I replied something to the effect of, “I’m trying to integrate back into Western culture”.
4) The prevalence and dramatic severity of American medical condition / pharmaceutical commercials initially confused me. Had I not previously lived on this continent I may have questioned if Americans are amongst the sickliest, cooty ridden aberrations of humanity on the planet.
5) Much of the produce tastes dead to me.
6) Somewhere deep within the recesses of my brain lied the belief that going out in public coincided with dealing with bullshit. I noticed this as I was regularly behaving unlike my remembered Western self, declining suggestions to leave my brother’s couch and investigate the world around me alone (i.e. go for a ride on a bike around the block). In addition, approximately one week later, my hearing went out while out at an Italian festival with family in Canada. Being a person who remembers getting amped by huge crowds, this reaction to the small crowd surprised me. Thankfully it has only happened once.
7) I see beauty everywhere.