Coming back to the States this time, had a different feel than it ever has before. It’s the second time I’ve been back since I moved abroad, but considering that last time, I was somewhere deep inside a having-a-newborn-haze, I noticed many more things this time around. These are some things I didn’t realize I was missing about the good ol’ USA
1. Being Polite: Not to say that people are not polite in Denmark, or that I’m not polite in Denmark, but I forgot how easy it is to be polite in your mother tongue. No wondering if I was saying the right thing, in the right way. I knew exactly how to respond to any small-talk venture, and could very my “yes, thank you”s with some “absolutely!”s and “definitely!”s. I do all my communicating in Danish here, with the exception of Andreas, Theo, and friends of mine that aren’t from here. I am just so used to dealing with the daily frustrations or insecurities of communicating in Danish, that I totally forgot that sometimes, trips to the shop are actually super easy, and not intimidating at all.
2. Friendliness: This is kind of an add-on to number one, but the friendliness was refreshing! I had a full, easy conversation with another mom at the park, and even got to know a few people on our plane trip. While I do actually appreciate the Danish anonymity on public transport, and the lack of expectation to make small talk, it is really nice once in a while to go back to the Midwest way of living, and for the three weeks that we were there, I found it really easy and comfortable to talk to strangers.
3. Variety: We were looking forward to shopping in the US (we even came over with a suitcase packed into a bigger, empty suitcase so we’d have more room to bring our goodies home). But I was focused on the cheaper prices (and the knowledge of which stores carry what for what price), and had completely forgotten about the sheer amount of choice in the shops. While it was fantastic while we were shopping for clothing, and I could get whatever caught my fancy, I was struck with a bit of green jealousy, when I saw the homewares that were much too big to bring home. If only I had that kind of selection at those prices here in Denmark, we would have the most beautiful home!
4. Food: Okay, I did know that I missed the food. But I really missed it, so I think it deserves a spot on the list anyways. Topping the list are: Vegetarian Italian sausage (and just all of the vegetarian options in general!), crackers, cheese curds, and donuts (I didn’t actually even get any donuts while we were there, so I might just have to make some myself soon!). I would probably be embarrassed if anyone saw the size of the sack of candy I brought home with me.
5. Amazon: It’s been so long since we could use Amazon, that I rather forgot how awesome it is! We mostly did one big Amazon haul, but it was fantastic to find almost every special thing we needed in one place, with free two-day shipping. It’s probably a good thing that we don’t have it here, because I’m sure our budget would spout a little leak, but it was fantastic while it lasted!
6. Animals; Yes, okay, there are animals in Denmark. But this is more of a going-back-home sort of thing. My parents’ house is filled with animals. At present, they have: a canary, a parakeet, two guinea pigs, a cat, and a dog (with an additional cat and her four kittens living on the front porch). Theo loved each and every one of them, and they tolerated him with varying degrees of caution. It’s really fun to have animals around, and since we’re not at a point in life where pets are a great idea, it’s an exciting bonus when we visit my family.
7. Cars: I do love being a bike family in Denmark. It works well for our life here, it’s cheaper, environmentally friendly, etc. etc. But in the US, people have cars–and for good reason! No one wants to bike thirty miles to get to the grocery store. We went on a few trips to town, and my parents were good enough to loan us their family car, and it was great! I did not have to think about how I was going to bike home with everything I was buying. I didn’t have to carry ALL the things we were buying into every store we were going to. It was a welcome break.
I’ll never be sorry that I made the swift and absolute decision to live in Denmark, but the longer I’m away from my homeland, the lovelier I find my visits, and I rather like it that way.