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And Just Like That

In the "Cult of Escapism": And Just Like That

Sunday, October 14, 2012

And Just Like That

(From October 13)
And just like that...I'm in Miami airport, in the same corner of the same terminal that took us to Panama, two years ago. Walking by the waiting area near gate D2, I can remember joking with two other volunteers about a particularly putrid fart that had permeated the cabin. “Wait, I was at the back left and I could smell that. If you could smell it at the front right then that guy really ripped ass!” This is, curiously, the only conversation I remember from that wait.

And now, I'm sitting four gates ahead, between the Island Bar and Grill and the Edible Dreams, and being circled by two children. My initial reaction is to talk to them, maybe give them a high five. But my friend from PC Honduras warned me about interacting with stranger children in the U.S. - it isn't acceptable the way it is in Central America. This in mind, I'm under the impression that even a friendly exchange will be interpreted as attempted kidnapping/first degree murder. So I'm legitimately nervous as the siblings play in front of me, their mother watching, hawk-like, from two rows away. I actively ignore the kids and try to exude my best 'I swear I'm not a child molester' vibes. Then I worry that I'm being too obvious about ignoring the kids and this will be equally suspicious, if not more suspicious than paying a little attention. I look back at the hawk mom and imagine burly police officers dragging me out of the airport and forcing me to register as a sex offender, then putting me in maximum security prison, where I am shanked to death in a prison bathroom by a man named Cue Ball. I wish these children would go away, so I could continue my law-abiding, shankless existence.

The best cooks I know - John and Martha
They do, eventually, and I'm still at D6, watching the bags being loaded on to the plane and wondering when I'll begin heavily reflecting on the past two weeks. Or worse, the past two years. I assumed this would happen on the first flight, but thanks to a 4:30am wake up, I basically just passed out and otherwise didn't have the mental energy to reflect on anything except the plumpness of Scarlet Johanssen's lips, pouting at me from the cover of the in flight magazine.

Pretty soon I'll begin thinking about all the goodbyes, the major life change, what impact my service has really had on me, and exactly how much of a scrub I've become, compared to these immaculately clean, chubby Americans around me, that have not one mold stain on their clothing.
And just like that...My aunt Martha and uncle John are waiting for me at baggage claim in Boston, updating me on sports and traffic reports and family happenings of the past few months. Their leather seated Ford F150 is so far from a dilapidated old school bus that it's hard to believe they can both be defined as 'automobiles.'

My first meal back in the States - amazing
We arrive at their home and Martha makes an amazing meal (she's not really capable of anything less in the kitchen) of burgers with cheddar and cooked onions and peppers, tater tots, and tomato and mozzarella salad. She said she figured something “American” would be best for my arrival. She was right. I compliment the meal with a Sam Adams Boston Lager, which definitely can't be defined in the same beer category as any of the Panamanian nationals I've been drinking. We finish the night watching playoff baseball and college football simultaneously and I'm so happy to be back in my country.
So here's the deal: the past month has been one of the most fun and most emotionally intense experiences of my life, rivaled only by my arrival in Panama at the beginning of my service. As such, I've slacked a little on posts, but I've got them right here on computer, written and ready to post. I also plan on continuing the blog for a couple of weeks, to give everyone a sense of what it's like coming back from two years of Peace Corps service. So stay tuned and thanks for reading. 


At October 15, 2012 at 8:45 AM , Blogger C Kramer said...

Welcome back to the U.S. and thank you for serving in the Peace Corps!


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