Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Life back in Everett

Living back in my hometown has been interesting. I went for a walk through the city the other day and it's both exactly the same and completely different. Hospital Hill was a little smaller than I remembered it but the view from the top was still wonderful. And, of course, being here makes me think of all the stupid things I did as a teenager but I notice that it has given me a little more patience for the teenagers wandering around the city. I've also been walking a lot more. Jamie and I got to wellington station with about 35 minutes to kill before the bus came. So we walked home. Why, oh why, didn't I do that when I was younger? I remember waiting in the cold for the bus for what seemed like ages!
It's also been interesting to see all the new apartment buildings right around Everett - lots down by Wellington and even new swanky looking lofts down on 99. And a windmill across from the electric plant! (Not that I've seen it move. ) And I noticed the nursing home at the end of main street has been changed into a Backpackers Hostel. Interesting.

It's also a lot more diverse than I remember it being. This thought could, of course, be a by-product of having been in the most homogenous nation on the planet for few years, but I think not. I enjoy hearing all the different languages and having access to excellent and varied food. I also like riding the bus and being surrounded by a varied group of people.

Overall, it's been really exciting to be back.

I keep simultaneously hoping that I run into someone I know and dreading it. I'm so interested in what my high school alum are doing but so worried that I wouldn't recognize them if I saw them!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Back In the USofA

We're back (for now). It's been about 3 weeks and we've settled in a lot faster than expected. It took Jamie a full week to get over the jetlag, but once we got back into the swing of things we quickly started sleeping in until 10AM to take full advantage of our laid-back lifestyle.

It's been real fun being back. Seeing friends, visiting family, drinking easily accessible tasty beer, visiting package stores, wandering around Boston. Everything has been wonderful.

People keep asking us what we miss about Seoul:

The Subway
These days we really miss the public transportation and the taxicabs. Not having a car these days means we're relying on public transportation which, in Boston, is a bit pricey at 1.25 a ride. Also, the train lines are short and old. Not that I don't love Boston and don't appreciate that this is the oldest subway system in the country and that it's, in truth, gotten us everywhere we want to go. BUT-we're coming from Seoul. 9 major lines, busses EVERYWHERE, speedy, clean, expertly labeled. So, you get the picture. We miss the subway.

We also miss taxis. The other day I took a taxi for about 5 minutes and it cost $16 because we had an extra person (in a van!) and it cost $6 for the extra. WHAT?! Ugh. So, taxis and subways. We've been missing that.

No Tipping.
I don't even need to explain why this is lovely.

Things that have been fun, exciting or interesting about being back.

We were in the park the other day and a group of college women ran past us- IN THEIR UNDERWEAR. Well, really, it was appropriate running wear for a hot day but having come from Asia where people of all sizes swim in teeshirts-I was a little uncomfortable with all the skin.
As an offshoot of this one: people wear short sleeves! When we arrived in boston the warm weather followed us. But it hasn't' been THAT warm. One day when it was still quite chilly there were tons of people walking around in shorts and short sleeve shirts. I was shocked. And then I thought about how annoyed I was that my co-teachers were constantly remarking on my short sleeved clothing choice and I hung my head in shame.

It has been so awesome to ride the train and go to the supermarket and see so much diversity. Really, I had forgotten - people from so many different backgrounds everywhere. Different languages everywhere. It's remarkable, and having come from one of the most homogenous countries in the world, it's so exciting and wonderful. Good job America.

As soon as we landed in LA, our first hour in the US, people started chatting with us. We've had more random conversations with people in the past three weeks than in 2.5 years traveling. The man in the Airport who claims to have started the radio station WAAF and who was on his way to Cuba with his wife for an art showing. The lady who's cousin, 65 year old retired physician, hiked the Appalachian trail while his wife followed along in an RV. The anarchist taxi cab driver who's one son is a conservative Police Officer. It's been really exciting chatting with people.

In the woods without other people. Awesome.

Well friends, this is just a start. I can't wait to see what other gems we discover along the way.

p.s. We plan to leave for the trail in early May!