I’m back in NC for the holiday. I’m enjoying family, especially my niece who seems to think I’m a rock star, warm(er) weather, and American customer service — the best in the world!
My six impression upon returning for the holiday:
1) From the DC airport: Why are so many people wearing pajamas? By Ukrainian standards, this is criminally casual. Are whites America’s new minority?
2) You know that lonely feeling when you’re walking in the shoulder of a road? I wanted to get some fast food near my hotel. There were no sidewalks. Only the drive-thrus were open. The one at Taco Bell refused to serve me without a vehicle. So did the one at Wendy’s. The chill and smell of the air reminded me of nights at Fort Bragg. I’ll walk that memory lane when I visit Fayetteville next week. Welcome back to the USA.
3) Driving a car again. Love it. I can drive for hours and hours in any direction. My own car, after I jump started it, reminded me of the carefree days of Iowa City life. It was making noises first. Lots of them. But in the first few miles of driving they all disappeared, one by one.
4) The U.S. has the best customer service in the world. It is also immensely convenient — from the parking lots, to the cheap products available, to the price tags and come off easily without ripping. You no longer need a scouring pad to remove the glue. I bought a ladder and Lowes. The packaging just popped off. I didn’t even need scissors. I returned it to get another ladder, and the return process literally took about 30 seconds. It came with a smile too.
Meticulous thought has been devoted to anticipating and mitigating every difficult and inconvenience between my desires and their satisfaction. One example: since I used me credit card before at Walmart, I no longer have to sign the receipt. I’m not saying this is legal or a good idea, but it’s an example of how extraneous gesture is scrutinized with the aim of making life better. God bless Capitalism.
5) When I arrived at my sister’s my usually shy niece screamed my name and ran down the drive way to give me a hug. I think we all have a soft spot for such childish devotion and admiration.
6) My mom’s guest room is more Ukrainian than my L’viv apartment.
7) I love playing scrabble with mom. I had a banner game with three turns > 50 points, the highest being 65 points for “Nascent” which used all my letters.
ps – Lastly, here’s a picture of a Nativity model older than I am. The lamps were made by my grandfather and recently restored by my mother. The lamp-shades rotate when the lamp (with old fashioned Earth-hating incandescent bulbs) heats up, showing a procession of figures toward the manger