You know, after being in Spain 21 months, you just get used to your surroundings. Eventually, what you used to have in your everyday life fades ever so slightly and sometimes you just forget about things and some things you will remember forever. It often takes some sort of trigger to bring the thoughts and emotions out of the old files and into the forefront.
Earlier this month, I had a quick last-minute trip to Utah, USA. Within a couple of days of hearing the sad news of my aunt passing, I was on my long 24 hour journey to the west side of the USA. With a total of 2 flights I landed in Salt Lake City, Utah. I just had one more flight to Las Vegas, Nevada and a 2 hour car ride to go and I would be in Saint George, Utah with my family. From the moment I stepped off of the plane, I began to notice things. Things that I had forgotten about and now seeing them, I realized I missed.
What’s The First Thing I Noticed I Missed From The USA?
Right out off of the plane in Salt Lake City, it was strange to be around so many people “just my size”. I mean really, it was a Goldilocks moment for sure. I don’t remember the last time I just felt like I fit in. There were tall people, blonde people (I used to be) and heavy people. It was also a very strange sensation to hear English everywhere. But I have to say there were a few items that really had me smiling. These are things that I had way back in the memory storage files of my mind.
Too Much Info
I was on my to visit the restroom and the water fountain, with cold water, caught my eye. I was compelled to fill up my water bottle in the special spout, to do that very thing. Oh how I miss cold fresh water at the ready. Whooohoooo!
Then I step into the restroom and entered the stall. I looked in and it was all clean and when I looked up on the wall, I actually giggled with excitement. It was toilet seat covers!
Wow, what a real treat. After my little tinkle time, I exit the stall to find a container with soap and hot water to boot. Oh but that isn’t all, oh no. This brief moment of decadent restroom reminiscing wasn’t over yet. You see, they actually had paper towels and a blow dryer to dry my hands!
I kid you not, I washed and dried my hands two times and it felt so good. Don’t get me wrong, Spain isn’t in the dark ages, but these things aren’t readily available everywhere you go. You do need to come prepared and carry tissue around, just in case the public restroom is out of toilet paper. I will also admit, I have become very accustomed to clapping my hands dry, followed with a final wipe on my clothes.
I know what you are thinking, I am thinking it too. They won’t have all of this in SE Asia, so don’t get used to it Heidi! In fact, it will be far more rustic than Spain, and I am well aware of that. Oh, but I sure was enjoying the moment. I didn’t even rush to my gate.
The Best Moments I Missed From The USA
The week was full of these special moments and I am certain my sister Karen was over my “Oh my goodness. Oh, I missed this!” moments, after the 100th time. She and I went to Wal-Mart to pick up a couple of things for the family dinner and I just stopped when I entered the store. Everything was gigantic, monster size and in your face.
While this was overwhelming and exciting, it was a clear sign that we were in America. The land of super size, excess and big people. Hmmmm, I wonder if it all goes together? As we walked through the store I spotted Hostess cupcakes, Dr. Pepper and many other yummy, bad for you processed foods. Oh it was good, bad, and sad all at the same time. I did show quite a bit of restraint and I didn’t purchase anything, this trip.
When we arrived back to my sister Karen’s house. She had San Francisco salami and sourdough bread and dill pickles waiting for me. I didn’t even remember I missed sourdough bread and salami. In fact, she texted me while I was in Salt Lake on my layover and asked what I wanted from the store. These items never would have entered my mind and I couldn’t really think of anything to tell her. I am so glad she knows me better than I do, because oh man was it good! I had a salami sandwich every single day I was there.
Another must have for me was In-N-Out Burger. We went one day for lunch and it was super yummy! I had forgotten what it was like to be able to refill your soft drinks too. Oh the little things were so fun, but again now I know why I am big. I like the value in cheap food and free refills and ignore the fact that it is all excess food and calories. It is all about the deal, those places sure have their marketing right for making us want more.
Of course there were many more special moments of “oh, I miss that”, but over all I guess I didn’t really miss it all that much. I had actually forgotten about many things. It was nice to indulge a little and get a “fix” only to find, I was fine without it.
One “fix” I did get that I can never get enough of and it is not anything I had forgotten, my families love and attention. Oh, it brings tears to my eyes and pains in my stomach and heart how much I miss all of them. It was pure bliss to just hang out and “be” with them. No vacation, no tours, just normal hang out and chill / chit-chat time. We really did have the best time visiting, catching up and bonding. We explored the beautiful sites of Southwest Utah and honored my aunt with time in nature, as she loved it so. Zion National Park and Snow Canyon State Park were two close destinations. We also sent balloons and notes to her up in the sky.
As I left my family and headed back home to my little family, it was bittersweet. I don’t know when I will see them all again, as we are going further away to Asia. Perhaps they will come visit, but for now I am thankful for technology keeping us close. I am so glad we can video chat, email, text etc. Without that, this would be all the more painful. We are really looking forward to our time in Asia and I am sure we are in for more culture shock than we know.
Do me a favor, take the time to appreciate those little things every day.