As many of you know, I was back in the US from mid-November to late December. This was my first trip “home” since February 2004.
Yes I write it in quotes; as much fun as I had there, you see, I was also extremely excited and happy to get back to P, the pooches,
and the three kids (who, incidentally, we believe may all be pregnant!).
Stateside, I spent lots of time with family and friends, visited Philadelphia, New York City (where I met two online friends for the first time and met up with an old college friend–none of whom are shown in the photo below!)
and Washington DC,
helped my mom make cookies (which she sells for Christmas),
and shopped. A lot. The Christmastime prices in American malls? Worth the price of the airline ticket, quite frankly.
For instance, P was amazed that I could get him a pair of Levi’s for $30 (€21) when they cost, oh five times that here. My other spectacular purchases for myself include a new iPod Touch (to make it easier to read English language books, mainly) and a new external hard drive.
NB: Anything technological/electronic costs *way* less in America than it does in Italy.
My biggest culture shock actually came very early on in the trip when I couldn’t. stop. speaking. Italian. It was the weirdest thing! On the plane over, no matter what language the person addressing me was speaking, I would answer in Italian…and only sometimes catch that I had done it–once purely by the blank look on a fellow passenger’s face.
The two hardest things to stop saying were “Ciao!,” “Grazie!,” and “Sì!” So I imagine I just looked like a really pretentious American for at least the first few days of the trip. Oh well.
The other thing that was hard to get used to? Things being open in the afternoon. So strange to be able to go shopping or *gasp* get something to eat between one and four! Lovely.
I still have lots of photos to go through and post on Flickr (and possibly here), and probably a lot of mental processing of the whole experience. Soon I’ll be publishing my Top 10 Realizations After Being “Home” for the First Time in Nearly Six Years so please check back!