Slowly from here

I am not so good with change.

When I was 20 and newly home from a semester abroad, my sister Christina followed me while I wandered the supermarket, baffled by the dozens of shampoo choices. At the checkout, at last clutching a bottle of Pantene, I’d reached into my pocket to find only Icelandic kroner. Christina had been so shocked at my disorientation: “But you’re FROM here.”

This time was a little bit better, because the transition was buffered first by a long layover in Seoul, Korea with Kendra. We schemed about her becoming famous as a Korean model, and I marveled at the orderly traffic. Then a flight delay meant 9 hours in Seattle. On the spur of the moment, and thanks to Facebook, I met up with James and Elana, who I last saw on a Cambodian beach. At a brew pub near the water we tasted a dozen craft beers and remembered our time on a different coast, when Elana and I made James pull the legs off the fresh shrimp for us.

Then, Patrick in D.C. After nonstop travel, and a more frenetic pace in Cambodia, everything seemed so, so calm. Also: Every bridge seemed huge, every song on the radio was glorious. People said “bless you” when I sneezed. People said the word “awesome”. I could overhear conversations. Things were strange. Patrick was patient.

Now I am in Charleston, SC, with Christina. Lunches at food trucks, evenings on the beach. Lots of down time. Lots of patience. Slowly I’m remembering what it’s like to be from here.