Monday, July 28, 2014

Reintegration Part 1

(I have a handful of posts on our time in Jordan that I've meaning to write for a couple of months. Hopefully once school starts I will have time to write them. Until then, here's part 1 of our time back in the States.)
We've been back in the States since early June. Packing up our things in Jordan was more stressful than I had anticipated. The piling and folding, throwing away, giving away and space bagging took hours. Even with all the giving away we had more than anticipated. We bought two cheap bags the day before we left so that we fit all the unanticipated things. We took home 8 bags and had sent home 6 bags with friends. It's amazing how much one acquires in two years!

We wrestled with jet lag and slight altitude sickness for the majority of June. We are still wrestling with our reintegration to US culture. Our first shocks came in the Amsterdam airport on the way home. We were stunned at the amount of flesh that was on display. Short shorts and spaghetti straps were never on display in our adopted country.  I'm sure we looked Amish by comparison in our long sleeves and pants. Being able to fill our water bottles at a water fountain (not a device found in Jordan) was a watery delight. Water related surprises have been a continuing theme as we adjust. Filling my water bottle up with tap water and copious amounts of ice still pleases me. Tap water tastes so sweet compared to the bottled water we had in Amman. We still have to remind ourselves that showers can be longer and that sprinklers and rivers exist. I reflexively shudder at all the water that's being used seemingly so carelessly around me. I catch myself wondering how in the world all this open space in Colorado, Wyoming and Montana can be so covered in vegetation.

The food...let's talk about the food folks! I miss my cheap and healthy fruit, veggies, bread and falafel. We are trying our darndest not to fall back into our processed food and sugary ways. I'm pleased that I still crave an Arab salad and fresh fruit over other snacks. I'm finding it harder and harder to not purchase shortcut foods from the store because our summer has been so busy. The cheap ice cream, cereal and real cow's milk has thrilled our tastebuds.

That leads me to maybe the biggest unexpected shock for me: people. It is overwhelming to move from a culture where you can walk down the street and feel isolated because you cannot follow the majority of the conversations happening around you. It is ├╝ber stimulating to have so many discernible conversations suddenly dumped into your formerly isolated ears. We are well-liked and have many friends in Colorado. That has also been overwhelming. We had relatively few friends in Amman and spent a lot of time alone or with just us four. To suddenly have so much friend variety and so many more lives to invest in as made me want to curl up in a ball. I like all our friends and family, but it was a sudden rapid expansion of our social circle, akin to an explosion. This coupled with my realization that I am an introvert has been stressful.

We have friends who have graciously allowed us to live with them this summer. It has been wonderful to have some ability to cook and clean and have a quasi-normal routine. But the housewife in me craves my own domain again. Living out of suitcases and boxes had not been easy this summer. Our stuff is stored in six different houses and their some items I've given up looking for until we move into an apartment in August.