A Master Artist

A Master Artist

It was a bustling morning at the Art Gallery. Several people stopped in for the Photography Show. Children exclaimed over painted scenes of bridges they had traversed in the park. One woman purchased a magnet, and when the oversized Casio calculator displayed “1” three times when checking what 10% off $6 would be, I finally decided it was broken and used paper (for those who say this is easy math–this is true; but when I am faced with a cash register and a paying customer, my mind forgets everything I learned in fifth grade, and mental gymnastics to properly operate the cash register ensue).

In the relative quiet of the afternoon (the “oldies” radio station still plays), I am writing. They say bloggers aren’t supposed to pull attention toward how long it’s been since they last wrote something, but I’m going to break that rule for today.

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Crowded in Corridors of Cornfields: Reverse Culture Shock

Crowded in Corridors of Cornfields: Reverse Culture Shock

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Cornfields buried under snow on a record-breaking cold day: the low was -14, and at the time I took this picture, it was hovering around 0.

The first Facebook post I wrote when I returned home was this:

Thursday, I was up for 24 hours straight, only able to sleep for half an hour on the trans-Atlantic flight from Dublin to Dulles. Landing in Indy didn’t seem real. Yesterday, I opened (or tossed) 51 pieces of mail, used a hair dryer for the first time in nearly 16 months, and went to the final High School home football game. I’ve got a list going of things I haven’t seen in over a year, and there are American words that I’ve forgotten. I don’t think I have an accent, but I did say “Sweet as!” this morning in reply to something about breakfast. I went to the grocery store with Dad and found candy corn, marshmallows, Twizzlers and peach rings. We also found a sign that said “Kiwi’s,” but sadly there were none around. There was only kiwifruit. Now I’m eating a Bridge Fest buried beef sandwich. The leaves are changing, the colt is bigger than I remember him to be, and man is it good to be home.

I didn’t know it then, but those experiences when I first arrived home were some of my first incidents of reverse culture shock. Continue reading “Crowded in Corridors of Cornfields: Reverse Culture Shock”

What Being Home Means

What Being Home Means

The week before I arrived back home, I wrote in my journal, “I woke up used to the ocean, ate an apple and two cookies for breakfast and was listening to rap.

“It’s time to go home.”

I’ve had several people ask me, “What happens if you get home and the travel bug hits again?” or “Will you be bored?”

Right now, I am enjoying being in one place. Coming home doesn’t mean I can’t travel anymore. I’m actually heading to a Pennsylvania wedding soon. There are still plenty of places to go within my country, state and county.

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Autumn in May. Omarama, New Zealand. 

And I’m not bored. I’ve got all kinds of projects going and people to meet. If I’m bored, it’s my fault. That was an early lesson from my dad as we rode together in the farm truck. I should always be able to think about something or do something interesting no matter where I am. Anytime I want a new challenge, I can come up with something. There are plenty of stories of people doing that.

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Groceries

Sliding doors glide open. Coolers hum. Glass chimes in sweet melodies. My fingers tug at a blue plastic ring to pull a half-gallon jar toward me. In one swift motion, I take it out, swing it by my side, slide the door shut and turn toward the cashier. As I walk toward the register, I let my eyes wander toward the display of cheeses, eggs and whoopie pies and the shelves of grilled stickies in boxes declaring, “World famous!”

I linger at the grilled stickies, picking up a blue box, thinking of the first time I ate grilled stickies, having never heard of them before, bought after a football game from the campus creamery. The taste of the cinnamon roll lingers and I fumble off my gloves to reach into my pocket for the cash. Count the change. Decide I have enough to add a box to warm up the night. Check out. Pay. Crunch through the snow to my car, laying the milk jar gently on the floor and placing the stickies on the passenger seat beside me.

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