A Primer for Our Re-Entry Onto U.S. Soil
We will be returning to the States in just 10 days. But much like the wrongly-imprisoned Amanda Knox, a kidnapped Elizabeth Smart or even an astronaut returning from space, our re-entry into your society probably will not be a smooth one. Therefore I’ve come up with a list of Dos and Don’ts when meeting with us to make the transition easier for both of us.
1. Throw us parties, large get-togethers or parades. Since it’s been mostly just Jill and I traveling together we frighten easily among large groups of people.
2. Ask us if we want another piece of pizza. Of course we do. Just put it on our plate.
3. Only ask us what our favorite country was that we visited (Japan for Jill, Cambodia for me) when talking with us about our trip. I admit, this is probably the one thing I would ask someone who just returned from a year-long trip, but it was really about so much more than that.
4. Ask Jill if she wants more ice cream. Of course she does. Though she prefers gelato to ice cream (Italy is running low after our visit there).
5. Ask what we plan to do next. Sure, it was something we were going to figure out over the past year, but we were too busy doing fun stuff. We’ll figure it out eventually.
6. Ask why in our pictures we were always wearing the same clothes. There’s a downside to trying to pack light for an around-the-world trip.
7. Tell us what happened in the most recent season of: Homeland, Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, Parks & Recreation and Three’s Company (I assume Jack and Chrissy hooked up, but don’t want to know the details).
8. Ask if we want another taco. We do. Because of the scarcity of Mexican food elsewhere in the world (though surprisingly it’s growing), we haven’t had good Mexican food for quite a while.
9. Be deceived if we look relaxed and stress-free. Traveling is highly stressful and takes a lot out of you. Just the other day while we were lying on the beach along Turkey’s coast I asked Jill if we had to wait until noon to open a bottle of wine. She said we didn’t. It was a relief to not have to worry about that.
10. Ask if I’ll be watching _____ sporting event. After a year away from the U.S. I’ve come to realize sports don’t really matter and there’s so much more to life. Hah! Did you really believe that? Yes, I will be watching ______ sporting event. Anything but soccer.
1. If you see us in a bar, feel free to buy us a beer. You can say something like, “I don’t think they had this IPA when you were in the States, why don’t you give it a try?”
2. Ask a good follow-up question to the “What was your favorite country” question. Something like: Were there any countries you didn’t like? How was your volunteer experience? What country were you surprised you liked? Are Japanese toilets really that nice? Since Jill and I are often forced to make things up to have conversations, these are some of the questions we’ll ask each other. Be creative!
3. Feel free to give us hand-me-downs. See clothes-picture reference above.
4. Ask us for advice on wines to buy from New Zealand or Australia. We’re always happy to talk about wine and did enough “research” in those countries to feel somewhat knowledgeable.
5. Ask if we want to babysit. Doug pays $12 an hour to watch his kids. Sounds reasonable. Please have pizza or tacos and ice cream in the house (see above). We’ll bring our own booze!
6. Let us know if you hear about any paid government research studies going on. I’m looking for something with hair replacement, while Jill wants to participate in one of those “Is chocolate really healthy for you?” studies.
7. Have Boys/Girls Night Out. We could use a little time apart.
8. Ask us how you can do a trip like this yourself. Actually, this should be directed at Jill since I have no idea how she did it even though I was present for all of it.
It will be good to see everyone when we get back. But use your time with us wisely, you never know when we might be off on our next adventure!!!