Currently sittin at the airport in Baltimore, waiting for two of my best friends from college to pick me up. It has been over a year since I saw them, a year in which I spent in the urban cities of South Asia. I have been in the U.S. for over a week now, first in Boston and then last night in Providence. People keep asking me if I am culture shocked. I am not sure that I am- sometimes I am taken aback that I am back to the place that I have missed, every now and then. Most times, I feel as though I had never left in the first place. It may be because after leaving Bangladesh on September 17th, I spent a week in Jubail, Saudi Arabia and then a few days in the cold London, U.K. before landing in the States, giving me ample time to slowly experience the West. I had my first Starbucks in London (soy milk latte, I have missed you) and my immigration was completed in Dublin, Ireland where the American officer wished me a safe journey home.
The steamed broccolli in my pasta on Sunday morning at Mike’s Davis Square did me in. It was Octoberfest in Cambridge and while I ate with my cousin, people were drinking beer and cider in the daytime streets, and bad music played on. Halloween decorations were slowly coming to the storefront, and sweet potatoe fries were being given in clean white paper cones nearby. Having broccolli, after so long, in an otherwise ordinary Italian cafe brought me to the realization that I am indeed back. They were fresh, cut perfectly, and not overcooked, and tasted like something just good.
Movement, from being able to walk in walkable side roads of Cambridge and taking the subway on my own accord led me to use the subway abundently and sometimes, unneccessarily this week.
And then you miss things you never cared about before. Having a thankgsgiving sandwich last night at Providence made me love the taste of turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce, though I never cared for any of it while growing up in Arizona. I was excited by the grass, though I always preferred to sit in benches. Wooden floors, even though we had carpet growing up. Things like that.
Meeting friends. Seeing familiar sights.Wearing the once familiar clothes. Being cold outside. Taking hot showers that for some reason just feels clean here. Visiting Wellesley College as an alumnae and walking across the campus that was my home for four years was uncomfortable, and yet a sense of closoure was there. It sometimes is like I have been here all along.
And here, as I wait for my friends whom I am eagerly waiting to see in D.C. will be the continued icing of this short trip home.