Wednesday, August 13, 2008
It was supposed to be a significant moment. One that I have been thinking about for a long time. It was probably my last international flight for a while. A monuments moment after 9 months on the road. My taste buds craved of good coffee, beer, massive burgers and burritos. I could almost smell the Costco hotdogs teasing my appetite just before going shopping in a building the size of a small country with a cart bigger than most vehicles in Europe. It was the return to my country. America. U. S of A. Home of the free land of the….this was supposed to be my home.
It soon struck me that this is definitely not my home. New York is a foreign country in itself, but the only thing the familiar sights sounds from my home did, was overwhelm me. It’s as foreign a country to me as anywhere I’ve been. It’s a culture shock only because I expected something from it. Something that I was supposed to know and have figured out. I was looking for something familiar. A language and culture that I understand and am apart of. But it was different. I found myself feeling as out of place and like a foreigner as in any place I’ve been in this world.
My shock came first with the cars. The vehicles are all so big! Even the small ones that I’ve always thought of as small are huge. Walking down the a line of cars parked on the side of the road on the Upper Eastside of Manhattan I counted 9 out of 10 cars in a single row that was some kind of truck or S.U.V.
The shock continued as I was constantly blow away by the size of everything. Not only the cars but the freeways, the bridges, the shopping centers and the buildings. New York is definitely a huge city and everything around it appears to keep in sync with that fact.
Soon, I slowly found myself accepting where I’m at and where I’m from. I started to remember things I love about this place. My friends Brad and Silvia were right there making sure I got everything I desired. It started with a good micro called Sierra Nevada then continued to an even finer brew simply known as PBR. A massive proper burger was first on the menu. Good, free ketchup, mustard and all the toppings known to grow in this land, requiring the need to stretch your jaw before attempting to eat. Sedated and happy, day two brought on a massive, coma educing burrito from a real Mexican restaurant. Day three was good ol’ American Chinese food and last but not least, proper American Pizza. It’s nothing like the pizza in Italy, but the American version is still mouth watering. There is definitely some truth to be found in the statement “fat and happy”.
Day four, Brad and I found ourselves in the possession of free tickets to one of the most massive music festivals New York hosts all summer. It was on Liberty park, a short ferry ride from Manhattan. The moment I saw Ben Harper play, the realities of being back hit me. I turned around, looked back at all the skyscrapers of the city and still couldn’t believe this trip is coming to an end. Jack Johnson then finished the night jamming out with the lead singer of Phish. I felt truly welcomed home that evening, back to the country I’m from and the closest to home I’ve been in 9 months.
My journey is not yet complete though. I fly to LA on Thursday. I’ll hang out for a few days with my cousin Heather and my buddy Jason. Then...choke…gasp…cough… I’ll be home.