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I finally made it to the adventure of a lifetime and now I'm a citizen of the World. Indy author, blogger, in love with being an author - Mom of two grown children and widow of the most wonderful man to ever live - Devon "Pete" Hall.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Bittersweet Return

The magnificence of Yellowstone National Park
Coming back home has been more than a little disconcerting. Returning to the land of my birth has highlighted both the good and the not so good and challenged my ideas of what home really is.

I returned to Phoenix, my legal residence and where my daughter lives, to a comfortable couple of weeks of joy at having the ability to get goods and services so easily. Being able to buy ibuprophen in large quantities and a new swimsuit in my size – amazing. Definitely on the plus side.

Having to rent a car for four days for the ridiculous cost of $305 for four days – the cheapest price after hours of searching – was a stunner. That’s three weeks of hotel rooms in SE Asia. In fact, the cost to fly home from Bali and that car rental ate up 100% of my social security for the month of May. I’m still reeling and realizing that coming back to the States will probably not happen as often as I had planned.

Relationships with family and friends have been stretched to the limit as well. It is one thing to stop in for a couple days, and be a treasured guest, but quite another to invade their space for a week at a time. So, even when I do return in the future, it will be for a much shorter time.

I’m so anxious to be on the way to a new place, this time Central America beginning in Costa Rica. My daughter is coming with me for the first 12 days, and that is the biggest blessing of all. I will try to gain some perspective on the trappings of my own country while at the same time appreciating the the bounty of others.

Here’s what I observed here in the States that is more disturbing than I had anticipated, which I only share in the hopes that some might find something useful in this litany: 

  •   Constant complaining, to the point of becoming nearly an art form:
    • About the traffic often sliding into loud abusive one-way conversations with other drivers and just generally being pissed off that other people are on the road. I’d love to plop these folks into any major street in Ho Chi Min City (formerly Saigon), Vietnam for just five minutes. I don’t believe they’d ever complain about American drivers again.
    • Commercials and TV, in general. 
    • Restaurant food, which never seems to quite measure up to our inflated expectations.
    • The general state of affairs. Everything used to be better; when that was I’m not exactly sure because this is mostly from the group my own age or older and they seem to forget complaining about everything from The Beatles to the advent of computers. 
  • Lack of gratitude for everything we have here – we have so much in comparison to others worldwide that it is almost inconceivable to us. Even the poorest here are way better off than other places. One bus trip, past the shanty towns of the island of Luzon in the Philippines, would cure most people of that blindness to the riches around us. 
  • The enormous anxiety we carry around with us – about every frigging thing. There is no such thing as a simple act or easy circumstance. Everything must be over-thought, over-planned, checked for the safety factor or eventual outcome until in the end all joy is sucked out of whatever we do. The anxiety over not being good at something or not looking good enough is overwhelming. 
  • Rules – we’ve got a ton of them. These don’t have to be written down, they surround us constantly and drive everything we do: DO NOT put that there, don’t use that one, this goes first, that must be used up (eaten or consumed) whether we like it or not, etc. Unnecessary minutia seems to clutter our lives and adherence to ridiculous procedures or self-regulations limit us to the extreme.
Our country, fellow Americans, has so much to offer and is already so pliable if we give it half a chance, especially if we’d also give ourselves time and permission to enjoy what we already have.

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