Happy Holidays. I’ve come back to America for the holidays to spend time with my family. I am here for a few weeks, which seems to be how long I’m spending at every location. It’s funny explaining to people that I’m from Los Angeles, I’ve been living in San Francisco all of a year, and now home is wherever I’m standing. Before I left, I was telling people home was wherever my backpack was. However I foresaw the lost luggage problem and changed it to “wherever my shoes are”. Then I got to Jericoacoara, Brazil, where people go barefoot all day on the sand. I guess I should stop trying to define where home is based on anything on or around me.
I celebrated our family tradition for Christmas of eating a nice, big prime rib on Christmas Eve and opening presents. It’s a Los Angeles tradition to be a beautiful mid 70’s the entire week of Christmas. The 90 degree temperature of Brazil might have been a bit much for me for the holidays, but I grew up with this room temperature and love it.
I’ve taken this time at back in America to think about what I’ve missed the last two months. Some I expected and others I didn’t know until I ran into them. I knew I’d miss my kitchen and being able to just look at recipes all day, drooling before I went to the store to get whatever I needed to make a meal. I knew I would be missing some comforts, like washing machines. I did not realize I’d be leaving hot showers. I know that expecting things to get done when you ask for them or to think things will be done efficiently was a rather American mindset. I did not expect to run into so much difficulty being able to joke with new found foreign friends due to languages barriers. I knew the language barrier would be hard, but I miss being able to make a snarky sarcastic joke when a shared smile is not enough. I was also surprised by the lack of personal space in Brazil. I would lay out on a relatively empty beach and often another person, or even whole families, would park it a mere few feet away from me. At an airport, a woman even sat on the seat with my bag on it. I gingerly moved my bag as she didn’t seem to mind. I really hope that was a Brazilian thing, but I suspect Asia has a similar problem.
There are certainly things I miss from the places I’ve traveled as well. I miss how cheap food was at restaurants in the rural areas I went to. I enjoyed saying “I need to get across town!” and being there in ten minutes of walking. In a more vacation like way, I enjoyed the lack of a schedule and the traffic and rush of urban life. I also miss running into friends on the road because town is only so big. I think I ran into someone I knew almost every time I left the house in Brazil.
I wonder what I’ll miss from America as I venture onto other continents. I am also excited to find new things to enjoy and cherish as I travel. Happy New Years! I’ll be back with more adventures next year.