I’m writing this at an airport in Newark, New Jersey right now. And I am overwhelmed. I don’t know what I was expecting when I finally moved, but I don’t know if it was this.
I’m tired, my eyes burn, and I just ate the last of my lösgodis. Followed by my shoving down half a bag of Cheez-Its. It seemed like a fitting way to enter the United States.
But I am not overwhelmed by the travel. I’ve done enough of that to know the feeling. And just so everyone knows, I made it through Arlanda and flew with SAS without incident. Well played. It only took three years.
It’s everything that is going on around me. It’s the conversations that I keep picking up on. Throughout my time in Sweden, I developed an uncanny ability to pick out English speakers. So much so that I could hear them over the din of my iPod on the subway. Unfortunately, this ability is now akin to being schizophrenic. I keep hearing voices, and they are all talking to me.
It’s the friendliness of the people. Within ten minutes, my boyish charm and awesome laptop with the Colorado sticker on it attracted two different people to me. One older man, and one not older woman both of whom felt I was a good source of information. And I was.
It’s the stereotypes. Like the girl behind me on her cellphone for the last 45 minutes being the reason that people hate America. Or the girl lying on the floor laughing at the announcement being made in German for a Lufthansa flight. Or the woman across the terminal who just happened to be overweight and a good candidate to be a participant in the World Championship Porcupine Race explain she would be out of town because she was going on vacation. In Nebraska.
But most of all, it’s this strange desire to explain to everyone what I’ve done. Why I’m here. That I’m not just traveling, but moving. It’s horribly egocentric. And annoying. And pompous. And pretentious. And all things I have been accused of before. It’s also something I was expecting. Turns out this desire is fairly common for people returning home after an extended experience abroad. For that very reason, it was an experience. For the person involved. Unfortunately, it was not an experience for the people involved. And unless you are capable of telling a good story, which I am not, explaining that you once saw a girls boob in the elevator in Sweden while chuckling and constantly retracing your steps so you don’t leave anything out, kind of loses its appeal. And I think that’s it. Retelling all those old stories means I’m just retracing my steps.
Welcome to America. And overwhelmtion. And making up words.
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