So, as you know, we are back in the States. So far, we have had a whirlwind vacation full of site seeing and visiting with great friends. Seeing the Texas horizon puts a smile on my face and makes me feel refreshed. I get a sense of aaahhhhhh when I look out and see a smiling cowboy or a windmill. It's good to be back in Texas, sort of.
Everything seems the same but slightly tweaked. The Houston skyline hasn't changed, but I have. People seem to take up too much space here in Houston. In a space where 10 Houstonians sit, you could easily squeeze about 50 Japanese people into the exact same place. I never knew that until now. To me, Americans, in general, seem to take up too much space, and it bothers me. I feel small, inadequate and somewhat out of place. If it weren't for my friends, I would have gone back to my home, Tokyo, Japan.
I know I probably sound like a traitor or an ex-patriot, but it's true. I feel misplaced. I feel overwhelmed and overstimulated by my surroundings and the people in it. The wide 18 lane highways scare me and seem to take up way too much room on the planet. It just seems weird and alien, and I don't like it.
I get disgusted when I hear a 350 pound woman breathing as she walks next to me at the mall. I get grossed out when I see people eating Beltbusters at the local Dairy Queen off the Interstate. I just want to slap them, take their Beltbuster, and run like hell. I know they will never be able to catch me. I know that for sure!
I just feel awkward and childlike in an unfamiliar world. I walked into Wal-mart the other day and nearly pissed myself. It was so grand and seemed to take up the space of two football fields. The 90 possible choices of shampoo nearly caused a panic attack! Again, I felt out of place and overwhelmed. I guess I'm suffering from culture shock.
However, my friends have done a great job comforting me. We have shared stories, jokes and memories. They have made me feel at home in their houses or in their tents (We went camping Saturday night in North Texas...I have pictures and stories to tell, but I'll do that in a later blog entry.) They have truly made this vacation as wonderful as they could. For that, I will be forever grateful.
I just wish I could see Houston with the same eyes I had a year and a half ago. But I know I can't. This is my new reality. This is the new Houston, and I feel like a fish out of water.