So, now we live in America. We've been here for two weeks and are more or less adjusted. It's been interesting to see what things don't feel weird, and what things do. When we saw our parents at the airport, and the first time we were able to walk into each of our parents' homes, it felt just like we had never left. It felt like no time had passed since our last visit or Sunday dinner. Probably the biggest change in the family is our numbers, as we have added in-laws and babies during these last two years. And much to all of our enjoyment, as the cousins get older, and as we add more, they only become more and more fond of one another. I think I can speak for all of us when I say that I love watching them love each other.
Overall, the adjustment has been pretty smooth. We are still in temporary housing as we are still waiting for our storage and sea shipment to be delivered. Our home sits empty, and with each trip to "the house", and after each hour invested in cleaning, it feels more and more like our home again. We paint this weekend, re-carpet on Monday (by the way, I'll bake cookies for anyone that can name something that is MORE boring to shop for than carpet), and hopefully start receiving our storage a little later in the week. We've got our mobile phones (who knew we would miss them so much?), got Jack started in school (another post for another day), and we finally closed the deal on our minivan, after borrowing a car from our angel brother and sister-in-law for two weeks. Who lends a car for two weeks? They do. Amazing. We've made decisions in one or two days that would usually take us months. It's been a little hectic, to say the least.
We are happy to be here. It's been such a blessing that several weeks before we moved I finally felt like I was ready. As much as we miss our Bangkok family, we are happy to be close to home once again. There are still adjustments and things we have noticed as seeming strange to us after living in Thailand for two years. Here are a few.
1. In Wal-mart, Jack noticed the HUGE bags of cereal and acted like he'd seen a person with three heads. I don't think he remembers we used to buy those regularly.
2. People do NOT know how to drive nice here. Merging is a joke, and I learned on my first trip down to Provo that only going five miles over the speed limit gets you dirty looks from everyone who passes you.
3. Despite hot-headed drivers, pedestrians still have the right of way in America, which catches me off guard every time. I always felt like the rule in Bangkok was "cars have the right of way on the roads, and motorcycles have the right of way on the sidewalks".
4. People in America really are big. Not just tall... BIG.
5. Maybe this is caused by #4, but serving sizes here are gigantic! The only thing you'd get a bigger serving of in Thailand is rice.
6. I love driving my own car (or, as of yesterday, my own minivan) and having a place to put our things that I used to have to lug around town with me in my bag. It's very convenient. I don't love carseats. Getting the kids in and out of those things every time you get in... ugh.
7. There are SO many churches here. I wish I could get a picture where you could count the steeples in a given area to post for our Bangkok friends. Unbelieveable.
8. We LOVE the milk here. Jack thought he hated milk for 2 years, when really he loves it!
9. Overall, Utah is a fairly flat place as far as buildings go. There really aren't a lot of TALL buildings, besides maybe a few in downtown Salt Lake.
10. In opposition to #9, Utah is not flat at all. I am continually stunned by how gorgeous these mountains are that surround and protect us. I have never lived in a place without mountains before Bangkok, and although Thailand is a gorgous land with beautiful greenery, exotic flowers, and can't-be-beat palm trees, there is really something amazing about Utah's mountains. I wish I could capture their beauty on camera (and I'll try in a post I'm trying to put together for everyone in Bangkok), but nothing will really do them justice. They really are stunning, and it makes me smile to see Jack start appreciating it as I do.
11. People keep to themselves here. People regularly talked to my children and touched their blonde hair without hesitation. If someone did that here, it would seem very strange. My kids are enjoying NOT gettng the attention from strangers, so that's great, but it makes me sad that our culture is so guarded. I miss all those Thai smiles.
Last big change... it's cold. We're adjusting, the kids better than Jeff and me, but we're getting there. I'll be happier when we receive our storage which contains an actual winter coat (at least I hope I'm remembering what's in there correctly!), not just a jacket. After shoveling and shoveling snow in an attempt to get into our driveway the other day, I haven't felt like this has been a very "warm" welcome, but it certainly has been good to be back!