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Monday, May 4, 2009

Back Home, (sort of...)

I’m sitting in the airport restaurant in Chicago, weary and hungry after a 14 hour flight, but excited to be back in Meiguo (America) – in Chinese literally “beautiful country”. The view of the city enchants when landing/departing…the great lakes, the neat grid suburbs, the gleaming high rises, the green space, the clean air. It is beautiful.

The waitress calls me ‘hun’ even though I’m likely older than her, and smiles broadly. I ask for water and it arrives brimming with ice. I open the menu and there are no pictures, all in English. I order, eat and smile to myself. I actually understand the conversations going on around me. This little 15min encounter convinces me that I will never be able to pass for anything else but a meiguoren (American).

I like when strangers are friendly to me and smile, I like lots and lots of ice. I like that the food looks nothing like the animal that was killed for my meal, there are no eyes, no heads no skin or fins or bones on my plate. The salad does not have thousand island dressing and the meal does not end with watermelon. The dessert is very very good. I’m probably gaining weight already.

Using a knife and fork feels so clunky now. Is it weird that I want to bring chopsticks with me? And why do I have to tip? I put down the green, colorless money in odd demoninations and head off for my connecting flight to my old home.

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