As an expat, you see your home country a bit different on return. These are some big differences:
1. Loud and extroverted people- strangers come up to you and tell you their whole life story at blasting volume. This is in comparison to quiet and keeping to themselves NZ folk.
2. Fast paced- if NZ is regular speed, then Americans are in turbo mode. The cashier thought I was taking all day to put away my wallet and leave the coffee counter.
3. Cheap dining- We have eaten out at places this week for $6 a person, which is so affordable!
4. Huge food-A donut the size of a dinner plate? A pancake the size of a platter? Huge food is everywhere.
5. Awesome shopping- Walmart was huge and amazing to go shopping at after 15 months abroad. Thanks to Grandma Portia and John Thompson, the kids and I had some gift cards to spend getting stuff. An Angry birds set was $39 US, but goes for 86 NZ dollars back in Canterbury. Vitamin water was $1, and is $5 in NZ. Socks and undies are cheap too, so we stocked up. Character T-shirts, $6.80 US, back in NZ they are $39 at Farmers department store. Wow!
6. Climate- We froze getting off the plane, and used grandma's 1980 hats and earwarmers for a while until we could get to Walmart for gloves. Snow flurries blanketed ground last night.
7. Family- Great to see everyone! Our parents ( kids' grandparents) are in their golden years. That seems neat to see them as senior citizens out and about. How did we all grow up and get so old? Lol! Obamacare is on everyone's mind.
Here Grandpa John reads to the kids.
8. Exercise- hard to get time to do this on the road, so I am sticking to push ups and squats and crunches and some running on the treadmill. Doing my best for triathlon training as designed by Josh Paurini back at Cityfitness.
9. Driving- super scary to go back to driving on the right! I have yet to go on the highway in Ann's Audi, but managed to do some right turns and drive on back roads of 3 A to grandma's house and back to the hotel. 35 mpg seems super fast! The snow and ice don't help road conditions, either. Slow and safe is my motto.
A great trip, even though we are in jet lag limbo. We will see more family and friends soon.