Mind Bytes* “Returning”

So, when we are in the States again I must remember to flush the toilet paper. Wipe and drop, wipe and drop. It’s not so hard. The absence of a trash can overflowing with wadded up toilet paper complete with brown smudges will be your first clue. Wipe and drop.

I wonder what else I can expect. It has been 28 months since being back in the States. I have traveled to other places like Peru and the Salar de Uyuni. But we are going back to THE United States. Home of the fast lane. Home of fast food. Home of fast talking because everyone is so gosh darn busy.

Remember you are free of the green envy monster. Be happy for people when they tell you that things are tight so they can’t give towards the orphanage… but come see my new car. Be happy when people tell you they only have a couple minutes to talk even though they haven’t seen you face to face in hundreds of thousands of minutes. Remember that, “Hey! How ya’ doing?” isn’t a real question.

Must not kiss. No kissing anybody. Do you need to pack the duct tape just as a reminder? Extend hand,  lock elbow, grasp firmly, up and down. No kissing. Oh, and don’t forget the churchy-nothing-kooky-going-on-hug-slash-pat. Stand shoulder to shoulder, reach over and give a quick pat on the opposite shoulder. It shows you care, but not overly.

No Kissing

Babies. You got some very strange looks when you goo-gooed over some bitty ones last time. Oh, of course the babies were just eating it up, but the parents start personal space training at a very young age in the States. The baby stays in the plastic carrier. That is their place: strapped to the plastic thing sitting on the floor while mom talks to everyone. Don’t bother the babies because the parents might be bothered by that. Sneak your goo-gooing in when the mom loses interest in your conversation and turns the other way.

Conversations. Have you got your kodak moments prepared? Can you sum up your life in a 30 second phrase? Sure, there will be some people genuinely interested in what you have to say, but test the waters before you jump right in. Don’t worry about being up with the latest lingo. They find it endearing when you slip some Spanglish in or have an odd accent.

They have home court advantage… HEY, hold it right there… what is all this us and them talk? You are a they and they are a you. You don’t have to try to be someone you are not. You just be you and they will love you. I would suggest that you remember what sports season we are in, though. You might not want to use phrases like “home court advantage” seeing as we are in football season. Oh, and that is the football with the hands, feet and pads, not just the feet. Got it?

*We all do it. We talk to ourselves. The sophisticated pros call it ’self-talk’. In a theatrical production it is like unto a soliloquy. Whatever it is, here’s some from my head.

– o –

Well folks, I am off to the States early Friday morning. DaRonn and I are going back to where we spent our honeymoon: Colorado. That was 13 years ago. We will be there for a week with some very good friends and a few dozen other people who have also dedicated their lives to ministering to others. I am more excited than nervous. It is really going to be a wonderful time.



11 thoughts on “Mind Bytes* “Returning”

  1. Angie,

    I love this look inside your thoughts. I can so relate. I know you will have a wonderful time and I´m praying that your transistion back will be as easy and good as possible.

    Love ya,

  2. Oh do have a fun time and SAVOR every moment! You work hard and deserve a fun trip! And the only thing I’d really worry about is the toilet paper stuff…that other stuff is just other people being silly!!!

    Enjoy Starbucks and the scenery! Maybe you can even find some Peeps around!

    Big, big hugs!

  3. @ng –

    I loved this post. I think one of my favorties ever here. The thought process, the differences, the us/them…and then just the US. I love you! You can kiss me if you see me. ;)

  4. Hey, go hiking up to cub lake. We went there two weeks ago, and ran into a HERD of elk. A herd! Just staring at us where we climbed up on rocks to get away from them. Besides, it was a lovely hike.

  5. Oh Angie….I loved this post! So true!!!! I know you’ll have a wonderful time, but I am sure you’ll also be ready to come back “home” when it’s all over! :)

  6. Wow, deary. I can relate while not experiencing. I think. Is that even possible? But these are things which bug me about our culture, too, and which I think I would enjoy about other cultures. I’m so sorry you have to deal with self-absorbed people. A different kind are rather rare, though.

    Hoping you’re making it through in one piece …

    1. Thanks, Alece. I am thinking about doing a follow up Mind Bytes about what the trip was really like. I was surprised at myself. Only one or two panic attacks. We were only there a week, so that might have attributed :-) And the people (we didn’t see as many ‘normal’ people as we usually do) were so much more inviting than I expected. It was hard leaving – which is usually not the case.

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