Aug 17, 2015

'Merica: Four Years Later

You Guys.

In America, people say hello to you while out running on trails. For no reason whatsoever.

And they drive huge cars, and sit in traffic for hours, and live in gigantic houses. They're friendly and helpful, and they scare me when they randomly talk to me in English because I forget that I can actually understand them.

It's like some crazy foreign land. And the weirdest thing was how not weird everything felt, even after four years away -- like riding a bicycle. Which we did not do in America unless we were far away from cars, and securely wearing helmets and spandex. Just like a bunch of American dorks.

We flew to Seattle and immediately went to Chipotles, where we drank from cups as big as my head. Then we refilled them because of FREEDOM. (We're patriotic like that.) I consumed my weight in Barq's root beer. And as it turns out, free ice water at restaurants completes me.

Oh America, you do keep us well-hydrated.

We spent the majority of time in Seattle stuck in traffic jams, it didn't matter what time of day. Yes, I took pictures of it.
This is called: Tuesday, 11:30 AM
I drove for the first time in four years. My parents lent us their van, complete with mini-blinds, a built-in television, and boat seats like Lazy Boys. As far the kids were concerned, it was the lap of luxury.
It's smaller than the vans we had while I was growing up-- no bus driver's license required. 

We reacquainted ourselves with the suburbs of the Pacific Northwest, visiting friends and staying with family. I went for a run one morning and saw a bear. Yes, a BEAR. I debated saying hello, because that seemed to be a thing, but instead ran away as fast as I could. I hope it wasn't offended.

We were at Target within 24 hours, where my kids had aneurysms in the candy and snack aisle. Or so it must have seemed to anyone in proximity.
Don't mind us, we're just getting our America on. 

Not everything lived up to our expectations. Costco has changed its hot dog and churro recipes, and discontinued its Mango Salsa. For this, there is no forgiveness. Guess I'll just have to get my 13 lb bags of baking soda and packages of 24 Sharpies elsewhere. Wait -- damn it, Costco it is.

It needs to be said: American washing machines are nothing short of miraculous. American public toilet stalls are nothing short of the worst invasion of privacy ever. It's no wonder Americans don't care about the NSA. Europeans might bare everything at the beach, but they do not tolerate making eye contact with strangers in the middle of a poo. Thanks OBAMA. And MONSANTO. And VACCINATIONS.

We met Mark's mom in Montana, and spent a few days surrounded by bikers (the other kind) on their way to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota, most of whom looked exactly like Gobber the Belch. But they're all doctors and lawyers who grow their beards out just for rally week. You think people on normal salaries drive Harleys? Ha, no.

We found American Way in Missoula, Montana. It had a China Bowl and Little Hong Kong restaurant, which seemed fitting.

We didn't even make it to downtown Seattle, or eat enough Mexican food, but we talked, and talked, and laughed, and talked, and laughed, and reconnected with so many people that we love, which I'm deeply grateful for. And 27 days was not enough time because we only went to four states and didn't get to see nearly enough of our peeps, which I'm deeply sad about.

I'm also sad that I didn't spend the entire time shoving my face with Reeses Peanut Butter Cups. Hashtag regrets.

Thanks for all the ice water America, and thanks for not giving us measles. Actually, for that, thanks VACCINATIONS.