Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Break Part Four: Out of Africa/Coming to America

The friendly faces at the baggage retrieval - Bri Tri and Amanda’s family. Now comes the surreal part of the trip - going to the bank and then to Best Buy. Bri was laughing at me. I thought I was a country hick before, but being in the middle of desert and donkey cart country takes the cake. People on the move, in a hurry to get here and there. I saw more people in Best Buy than I’d see in a couple weeks over here. I was so not used to that. Later on, after I gathered the courage to go into a Barnes and Noble, I bought three books in under 10 minutes - a new record for me. So many books and so many choices.

I dropped Jay’s computer off at the Apple Store in Rosedale Mall. This experience was disturbing to say the least. Apparently the US culture has gotten so worried about speed that they have taken the human element out of service. You now don’t go in and wait in line to talk to a service rep. You need to go on a computer in the store and reserve a time. You can do it at home too. If this doesn’t spell the end of civilization. My time is so important that I can’t wait in line for a little while?

Here are some random things that stick out in my head about being home:
Got to hang out with my family and some friends. A special thanks goes out to Bri, Sean, Brenda, Pauline and my family n relatives. Thanks to their help, I got to Kato it at their places and some even got to drive their vehicles - a risk considering I haven’t driven in over a year and am used to traveling on the opposite side of the road. I enjoyed getting stuck in rush hour traffic, really. Got to see my nephew Silas for the first time - I’m an uncle! Played the new Wii. I felt like I had to rush to get to here and there, something I’m not used to anymore.

Played poker with the Albert Lea guys - the new AD made this feeling rise within me again, the urge to coach. Cool guy too - an Ole graduate as well. Hung out with the math department. Saw snow for the first time since 2004. Played tennis in Owatonna. The open house at Pauline’s and telling stories and hearing more from Frame‘s when he did Malawi. I took hot showers every day. Getting to see an AL girls b-ball game (I coached a number of those gals in tennis). Wearing my Chaco sandals every day. Got to experience the joy of pirating broadband on my new laptop and experiencing download speeds significantly over the 5kbps I‘m accustomed to here.

Don Pablo’s, Chipotle, Dairy Queen Blizzards, Arby’s roast beef. Thank goodness I was back into running. I lost 12lbs before I left (running) and ended up gaining 10 of ‘em back from the food I was eating. It was worth every calorie. Playing Candyland, winning and not having my opponent throw the board/pieces around (that‘s for you Hannah). Seeing how much Noah and Hannah have grown in 14 months. A freak win in pool over Bri (like my one foosball victory over him) - sinking the 8-ball in the kitchen end on the break - believe that was my only win for the evening. Meeting some PC group 25 and 26 families. I also, for the first time, felt like I was a visitor in my own home state and country.

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