Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Countdown Begins

Our trip home is just around the corner. I'm thinking some about the food, but not as much as a thought I would. Yesterday we watched the World Cup UK-US game at The Hard Rock Café (our first time there) and ate nachos. They were nacho-y. They had actual pickled jalapeños - that was nice. I am not typically a fan of the Hard Rock Café - it has this weird kinda' 1980s feel to me. I think that comes from the fact that back when Austin was more small town-like we used to think it was cool to go to Dallas and go shopping and eat at the Hard Rock…that's really 80s…and it was the 80s. Now Austin has it's own Hard Rock. I've never eaten there. Can't imagine I ever will.

Mostly what I am thinking about is how weird it will be to go home. We are now well over what I like to call the 6th month hump - the time abroad when you decide you're either going to sink or swim in your host country. We're swimming (literally, in crystal clear Caribbean water, which helps) most of the time. We like it here. It's homey. So, to that end, I think it will be weird to go back to a place that's so easy. We have so many conveniences living in the capital, but even the convenient things have a level of negotiating that has to happen all the time. Lately, I have been thinking about certain situations back home, imagining myself there and then I suddenly realize that my imagination is happening in Spanish. I speak Spanish, but thinking about a whole world in pure English seems so…simple.

Eating out here is incredibly expensive. Even a fast food bill is easily $20 for our family of four. That will be different back home. I'm determined to not go overboard on things like chips and queso, really good pizza and Starbuck's. I will go overboard on all the delicious salads and fresh tomatoes from the garden and salsa.

I'm trying, I guess, to find balance before we go. Not just to establish a balance of what I'll eat, but what we'll buy because it's convenient and we think we'll need it and we won't be able to get it here. And, a balance of mind. You can't be the person who goes back to the States and points out, at every corner, "It's so crazy that people stop at the red lights and stay in their lanes," "How weird not to have people wash your windows at stop lights," "There are no children begging here," "This lettuce looks so green." That kind of thing annoys people quickly. Moderation of shock at how different things are is appropriate I guess. Perhaps increased meditation is in order. The countdown begins.


  1. If y'all get bored in Austin, feel free to pop over to beautiful CJ! Mexico's hidden tourist treasure!

  2. Have fun visiting home. I will be I Austin at some point in July for a trip to REI to get some gear and Hula Hut to get a margarita. Yummm.

  3. @Jake - Ya''s what I've heard about y'all's post : ).

    @Shannon - You too - have fun, that is. Enjoy the margarita(s)!

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  5. Forgot to change the link in the disclaimer. Sorry here is the corrected version.

    It’s Friday, and that means that the Weekly State Department Blog Roundup is up – and you’re on it!

    Here is the link:

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  6. my husband (FSO in PD) and I are about to start language training after the holiday. I have a couple of questions, if you don't mind. Sounds like you're fluent in Spanish, were you before moving to the DR or did you take the language classes at FSI?
    have a great trip home.
    thanks for your time.

  7. Eve,

    I was fluent in Spanish before coming here - I didn't take Spanish at FSI. However, for future posts where I don't speak the language, I fully intend to study the language at FSI. Don't know if that gets to the heart of your question or not - feel free to send other questions my way.