Hello Everyone! Well this post is coming to you from the USA side as we made it home from Botswana safe and sound about 10 days ago! I am also posting via my new laptop which means that you’ll be hearing more from me as I actually have a laptop that types in “real time” instead of about 20 seconds behind me. (Thanks Brenda and John!!)
Coming back to the US always gives a certain level of culture shock and re-entry. I thought it might be fun to let you know what I’ve observed so far in my 10 days at home…..
- Customer Service…….. If you ever have lived overseas, you’ll give me a huge “Amen” on this one. I bought a package of panties for Piper that was too small. I had opened the packet not so nicely before I realized this. I thought I was doomed, but Kev reminded me where we are. I took them back to Target and the lady didn’t even bat an eye as I gave my reason. She just handed me a merchandise credit before I was even done with my “reason”. What?
I went into Starbucks and asked if my beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte was out yet. The barista told me, “Nope, not yet. It launches officially on Tuesday.” I said, “Bummer” and he leaned in and said, “But I can make you an unofficial one as I have the stuff!” I said, “You won’t get in trouble?” He shrugged his shoulders and said, “If you want it, we aim to please!” What? What? (PS…Best barista ever!)
While purchasing panties at Victoria Secrets (yes, we all needed new under garments after 2 and a half years!) the cashier asked me to pick out two vials of perfume……FOR FREE. This took me a moment to register as I asked her a few times, “So those aren’t extra cost? I can pick two?” She looked at me like I had a third eye and said, “Yes, it a promotion, you bought so many panties, you get these free……no extra cost.” Free stuff……never ever, ever happens in Botswana!
Ordering food at a restaurant, if you don’t want something on it, you can order it the way you want and actually GET it the way you ordered. (Now I know many of you will say this isn’t always the case and I can agree, but in Botswana when you special order , 99% of the time you won’t ever get your special order, so this is a rare treat for me!)
- Personal Space…… While waiting in ride lines and Kings Dominion the other day I observed that no one crowded me, pushed up on me, or cut in the line. The line flowed nicely and everyone gave each other plenty of breathing room. I had to remind MY kids….give space.
Leaving Botswana a week ago, I was waiting to get my passport stamped when a rather large lady kept bumping and shoving up on me as though I wasn’t even there. It’s not unusual to also have people ram into the back of you with a shopping cart too…..multiple times….even after you give them the stink eye and gently (not so gently) shove their cart backwards.
- Options galore……This one wasn’t really any surprise, but yet it always amazes me at how many choices are given for any one thing. Most missionaries talk about the cereal aisle (or aisles in many cases), but yesterday while picking up a few things at the store with Piper, she and I were laughing at the space that the pickles took up! I couldn’t believe how many pickle options there are these days! It literally took up over half the aisle!!! Thankfully I didn’t need pickles or you might still find me there!
Packaging also changes over the years so you might know exactly what you want, but it might take you forever to find it because the packaging on the outside doesn’t look the same anymore. Buying simple socks for my kids took me awhile too…..crew cut, ankle, no see, black, white, multi color.
Also there are so many health food options too…..I can’t even go there yet on this one.
I love having the options, but I’ll admit, for someone like me who has a hard time deciding, it can be very overwhelming!
- Politics and policy…..Maybe I was thinking I would see more of this, but as much stink that was made over Transgender Bathrooms…..I’ve not encountered any issues or any signage, it all seems pretty normal.
Ya’ll….Donald Trump’s hair. I think enough can be said on that topic. You all have seen him over the year….I am just now really seeing the political coverage and I cannot get past the hair. Also, politics has not aged Hilary Clinton well at all.
At the end of it all….Home is still home…..while there is culture shock and reentry feelings about being stateside, being home still feels pretty amazing.
Watching our kids interact with family and experience new memories here has been really fun, and we’re just getting started. Not to mention watching our kids experience things in a home that has never been their home is also pretty fun. (That needs to be it’s own post!) The familiar sights, sounds, and smells of home all bring with it a sense of comfort and love. It doesn’t matter what has changed, that feeling so far remains the same.