Everyone keeps asking me how is it to be back. Some of the strange things I found worth noting :
1. Supermarkets are quite overwhelming: the variety, abundance, cleanliness and incredibly polite and friendly employees. It makes me feel like a cave woman being transported to modern times as I stare in bewilderment at the fresh baked cookie stand, right between the full sushi bar and the organic foods hall.
2. You don’t have to walk more than 200 meters (and this is if you’re unlucky and couldn’t find closer parking at Costco), ever. Unless you want to. This has already made me extremely lazy and I’m slowly transforming into a couch potato.
3. Having to drive 10 miles (~16km) to find a non-chain coffee shop. The good news is that thanks to a robust highway system, it takes only 15-20 mins so is somewhat equivalent to going to a coffee shop a few subway stops away.
4. Having to drive in order to be able to walk somewhere interesting or even to the gym. It’s true that one can certainly walk or bike around the neighborhood but the biggest action to be encountered a dog barking at the neighbor’s cat or a kid falling off her bicycle. Street art, music, social gathering are all things to plan around.
5. Online shopping – a world of opportunities is now open, without having to worry about credit card fraud or goods being stolen by the post office.
6. Having to reply to emails even if there’s nothing to say. I got used to Brazilian style of selective replies to only people you care about, need something from or have a concrete response to deliver. Americans are so much more efficient with emails that I constantly feel guilty if I don’t reply right away. The guilt feeling hasn’t caused behavioral change yet. But maybe soon.
7. Speaking in English to everyone outside the home. I still have the urge to interact with people (especially servers) in Portuguese. It seems so strange that they know English…
8. Not constantly finding hair in my food . This one is a cool upgrade.
I will keep updating as I run into more useless observations.