Returning is hard. Leaving wasn’t easy, but it was gradual. A six month visit turned into a 6 year stay, but I was never there permanently and it took some time to adjust. I’m not sure I ever really did. But there was always that sense of adjusting, of moving, of changing and adapting to my surroundings.
Coming back happened all of a sudden, and all of the things I remembered that made me want to leave were bigger and even more annoying than before. I didn’t want to be back. I didn’t want to deal with 8-lane highways, gridlock, and hours on public transportation. I didn’t want to deal with jumbo sized everything and flat Midwestern accents and well-meaning racialicious white people who felt entitled to inform me how unracist they are.
More than anything, I didn’t want to deal with the questions, or the assumptions behind them.
“You must have money, right? Anyone who travels like you do must have money.”
“You musta got your heart broke by some Englishman. That why you came back?”
“Did you bring me something nice?”
“Do you think you’re better than everybody now?”
It’ s not that people here in the US are any more ignorant than people in the UK, or anywhere else in the world. It’s just that returning has reminded me how ignorant we all are, and how few people actually are aware of that ignorance.
I can’t wait to be consciously ignorant again. Here’s to February, and blowing this big ol’ red white and blue popsicle stand again.