27 July 2007

Reverse Culture Shock

Today was my first day as an adult back in the real world. I’ve been sleeping and weaving and knitting and eating for two weeks. I have been wearing tee shirts and drinking beer. I have been saying bad words (ok, I guess that’s not so different). I have been reacting inappropriately in social situations. It has been strange, and parts have been good.

The other day K and I were beer shopping and K struck up a conversation with some random dude who at one point introduced himself and reached his hand out to shake mine. I think I successfully suppressed my shock and I shook his hand. It was one of my many “Oh, yeah” moments so far. Today I went for a job interview and I wore a short-sleeved shirt. It felt so odd (though appropriate since I swear it was 1000 degrees Kelvin here today), and I took a scarf and put it around my neck. As if for safety or something. Weird.

In my first few days back in Jesusland I wove a scarf.
I purchased this yarn in March and I’ve been waiting to weave something out of it. I’m really happy with it. It was nice and cool in the mountains, and I took just 3 days from start to finish. A good way to work back into this society.

Some days I feel like things are going well. I do like the less-deadly smog of SoCal compared to Amman. I missed driving my car. I love the restaurants here. But then, I see weird reminders of American hysteria. (i.e. ) I am even more perplexed with the perception Californians have of the War and of all the stoopid things we have done in the Middle East. I’ve had a few conversations so far in which well-meaning people ask me what I did this last year, and when I tell them I’m met with wide-eyed silence. “Oh,” they say, “That must have been very interesting.” They are people, you know. “And you felt safe?” More so than here, I tell them. I’ve never been comfortable with my role as Jordanian ambassador to the frightened.

Today I went back to school for the first time since last September. I saw PJW (who has been to Jordan many times) and we had a nice conversation. I registered for the next quarter. K and I went to Trader Joes. A typical day, I guess. Filled with people speaking English and driving in the lines. I feel so out of sorts here. The other day K and I went to Burger Continental in Pasadena and I heard two Arab men talking over the salad bar. One man was complaining about the Salmon, and used the word Yanee as he searched for the proper complaint adjectives. I almost started crying. The hummus was good, but the pita was completely unacceptable.

I guess I’m back.


Blogger AmpiezzaDiVedute said...

Great post-- we miss you a lot! We wish you were here! Did you eat the MExican food and um.... you know? 'Cause you didn't mention that. Maybe if you do that SoCal will seem better? :)

7:58 AM  
Blogger Walter Ward said...

Glad to see that you didn't end up in Git-mo after consorting with all of the Great White Satan's enemies! Like Miss A, I miss talking to you too. Maybe I will try to make a certain meeting in san diego ...

1:02 PM  
Blogger MMK and YMR said...

Finally, another great post! We miss you, even those of us still in Jesusland. You should return!

10:10 PM  

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