I don’t know if it’s the fact that there’s no furniture here, but I’m having trouble getting comfortable. The truck won’t be here until tomorrow, but it’s more than that. There is no time to rest, too much to do, or at least it feels that way. There really isn’t much to do until the truck comes, but there is tension in the air. What I have back home is small, but it’s mine, and I can be alone when I want to be. I like to be around people, but I need a place where I can retreat, meditate, relax.
As much as I have become a people person, I still have that need to be alone. The only time I really feel lonely anymore is when I’m with too many people and I feel no connection to what is going on. I enjoy parties sometimes, but I would always rather be with one or two friends, talking about everything and nothing. The kind of conversation that you never want to end.
I missed that connection this week. The windows were open the whole trip across the country since the air conditioning didn’t work. It was 120 degrees the first day, then progressively dropped over the next few days as we crossed the country. My mom was dying, and I was barely sweating. I learned a trick, meditation, more or less. I focused on absorbing the heat, taking it in and letting it pass through me. It felt tingly, like when an injury is healing. It’s not perfect, but the heat never felt bad to me. Very strange, but a useful trick.
The country is interesting, but there was never enough time to really enjoy it. The highways of America are usually surrounded by a wasteland of fast food, hotels, and gas stations. All the best stuff tends to be off on the side roads, and this trip was about getting to Georgia, not about seeing anything along the way. We were supposed to stop and see family, but there really wasn’t even time to do that. There was too much chaos, and we needed to get home.
It’s better that we arrived Sunday rather than taking the extra day or two in the car with the boys. It’s really too much to ask children to stay in a car seat for a week. It probably would have been better to send them by plane, but it didn’t work out that way. I want to make the road trip across America one day, just wandering and seeing the sites. Maybe I will one day, but not this time.
As we continued toward Atlanta, the country became greener, more colorful, but it was still the endless freeway. The sunsets were lost in the rearview mirror, and all the beauty faded as the miles wore on. No matter how much beauty there is, it loses its luster as you stare out the window eating whatever you could find at the gas station. You never know people as well as when you travel with them. As wonderful as it can be to get up and go, it will always stress you out also.
I think the thing that bothers me most about this place is the voices. I keep hearing my family, even when I know they’re not here. Too many white native speakers after all that time in Mexico is very strange. It will always amaze me that I face more culture shock in the United States than I have in Mexico. The first person I made friends with here is a man from Italy. The only people I really talked to on the trip was the Chinese family at the restaurant we stopped in one night. I love the look on people’s faces when you speak their language to them, even when it’s only a word or two.
I think that’s the most interesting thing here. I’m in between worlds right now, no longer a native but not yet a true expat. I can feel the pull of this place, the easy life with wifi and food, where the only thing I was looking forward to was old age and death. The problem is, that was my life for 34 years. The Russian one said that she was amazed by all the things she lost whenever she went back home. The habits, attachments, and desires of the old life. I’m finding that to be true on this trip. The shock is who I am and who I’m becoming, not just where I’ve been.