After a few days back in
And then you jump feet first into what most Americans think of as “normal”. A land of paved streets with sidewalks and curbs and gutters with built-in drains leading to underground piping systems that carry rainwater away. A land where most cars on the road are relatively new, and contain a single individual who is often talking on a cell phone while driving. A land where signage dominates the landscape, screaming “Consume! Consume! Consume!” A land where retail marketing is a huge monster, with stores everywhere, selling every imaginable item, and where shopping is a major form of entertainment for many people.
Dutch and I wandered the aisles of Costco and Home Depot and Safeway and marveled at the huge variety, quantity, and quality of goods for sale. And most of it at so much less than we are used to paying for similar items. We bought an extra suitcase (which we needed anyway) to bring home more retail goodies.
And then there is the energy required to function well amidst huge population density. Freeways are packed with cars, and they are all driving fast. It seems like nearly everyone has a cell phone in their ear, chattering away to someone, doing business, planning their lives, walking fast, talking fast, moving, moving, moving. Faces are studies in focused concentration. Irritability and outright anger seem much closer to the surface. I wonder how often people remember to stop and breathe.
I get revved up for all this before I leave
We’ve been back for nearly a week now, and my metronome has ratcheted down to where it fits with the flow here. My energy is no longer “on guard”, tightened up against masses of people pressing, crowding, pushing to get somewhere ahead of me. I’m back to the inner calmness that I love about my life here. The muddy unpaved streets, the shabby unpainted houses, the unmanicured yards, don’t assault my eyes as they do on first coming or returning here. They are just how