On my return to Greeley 2007 July 4Posted by @jennyjenjen in American Holidays, Family, Food & Drink, Home vs. Sweden, Language, Politics, Social Life, Travel.
Well, I’m back. Back to Greeley and trying to get back into the swing of things after leaving Sweden.
I got into Denver on Friday after catching the daily 8:00 am Frontier flight out of Chicago Midway. I weaseled my way out of excess baggage charges by switching things around in my luggage and carrying a few things instead. My parents weren’t at DIA when I arrived (somewhat disappointing, but I’m over it); my brother called me not long after I picked up my baggage to report the existence of a speed trap right outside of DIA. How they knew that, you can only guess…
Anyhow, we had lunch at one of Denver’s best Vietnamese spots, New Saigon, and picked up some Asian foods from the market nearby. It was nice to return and do something like that. We finished up the day with a little shopping and a visit to grandpa in the nursing home.
Greeley has changed only a little since I left. A few more buildings have gone up and minimum wage in Colorado was raised (hooray!). So if I end up not being able to find a decent summer job (which is so far furnishing little result), it might not be that bad if I get stuck somewhere like Blockbuster (again) or something in that line.
I’ve spent the days since seeing some people around town and learning how to adjust in the American world again. It’s kind of neat to have American money in my wallet again. I do find myself having to pause and think a little more when I’m interacting with people; I realize that after a year of living in Sweden has given me different social habits, like pushing through busy streets without saying “sorry” or answering my phone by stating my first name. I’m sure that will fade after a while, though.
Of my first observations, I do find that American society encourages much more apologetic behavior and guilt-tripping for the smallest behaviors; yet actions that could be considered a little more worthy of an apology beg for none. I’m not sure if my time in Sweden has changed my definition of a minor, apology-worthy opinion or if I just didn’t notice it in the first place.
Honestly, the biggest change for me is that my dog is no longer here and my grandfather no longer occupies his home. He is at the nursing home, unable to care for himself and unable to be cared for by anyone in the family. It’s the best thing for him, but it’s a hard adjustment for me. The unbearably quiet house does not help.
Today being Independence Day, it’s as if I’ve had the proper re-introduction into American society. I walked the parade route with the Weld County Democrats and Mark Udall this morning and had a pretty good time. It was certainly worth getting up early for, as it didn’t get too warm until about 10:00 am. I met some great people and got a little bit of sun and exercise.
As much as I miss Sweden, it’s nice to be back. It’s nice to see some familiar faces and more flexibility. But I’ll certainly be working on returning to Uppsala as soon as possible, whether it takes me only a few years or more than a handful.