Tuesday, October 12, 2010

First Weekend Back Home

photo courtesy of portfolio.kevinthom.com
So, yeah. I survived my first weekend in the countryside. And it was a long weekend as today is Columbus Day (you know 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue...). 

In case you are interested, the weekend was kind of like this:

On Friday night after the car purchasing experience, I stayed home BY MYSELF as my parents ditched me for dinner with friends (see how happy they are that I'm home). So, I ordered  Chinese take-out and watched a documentary on TV (oh man did the millions of channels overwhelm my non-TV watching self) on Hippies that was kind of interesting.

On Saturday I spent time on the phone with the car insurance agency, then ran 4.5 miles and did some core exercises (apparently according to Mr. Personal Trainer, I have a weak core - so I'm trying to improve on this. Damn planks. They kick my ass - or my abs as it may be).

Then I jumped in the shower quickly as I had agreed to meet a high school friend - the boy who shared the locker next to mine for 6 years (poor boy) who I have known since I was 3. Locker Boy had seen that I was moving home on Facebook and had a little too eagerly gotten in touch with me.

He originally suggested that we go hiking in the Berkshires - where he lives now. But as didn't want to drive up to the Berkshires because I hate to drive I had some stuff to do in the morning, I suggested he come down here instead. He then suggested that we go kayaking. It was an absolutely gorgeous crisp autumn day so I agreed.*

As I was rushing to get ready, I realized that this felt kinda like a date. Weird. And while this guy is nice and good-looking-ish and I did have a crush on him for about 5 minutes in the EIGHTH GRADE, these days, he is not really my type. I mean he is the typical, small-town, baggy stonewashed jeans and Red Sox hat wearing, Republican type of American boy.

Speaking of clothes... I realized that once again, as per usual, I had packed like an asshole (it happens every time). I did not have any appropriate country-activity type of clothes with me (remember, I have just 2 suitcases of stuff with me, the rest is on a boat from England). Skinny jeans and high heels did not really seem appropriate for kayaking... Neither did a dress. Besides, what do you wear for kayaking anyway? I have only been kayaking in a bathing suite in the summer. Exasperated with my lack of kayak clothing options and running late (as per usual), I decided to throw on a skirt while fixing my hair and makeup and figure out what to wear later.

Unfortunately Locker Boy arrived before I got around the changing my clothes again. He laughed at my outfit and told me it was not appropriate for kayaking. "Don't you have any jeans?" he asked.

"Ummm... only skinnny jeans."

"Sweat pants?"

"Ummm... no. I will sort something out," I said and left him alone with my parent's dog while I scrambled to assemble an appropriate kayaking outfit.

I finally settled on black khaki-type pants, sneakers, sweater, scarf and jacket. I grabbed the skirt though and a pair of boots and decided to bring them with me.

Locker Boy deemed my outfit appropriate but laughed at me for bringing a skirt with me.

Anyway, we drove up on small country roads taking in the beautiful autumn scenery (seriously, I cannot say this too many times NOTHING BEATS FALL IN NEW ENGLAND) to some small town I had never heard of (we are talking hickville here) and went out kayaking on a big lake. 
photo courtesy of jasonfarnsworth.com

Not to brag or anything, but I do have to admit that I was kind of awesome at kayaking and Locker Boy was struggling to catch up - for real. He had a laugh at this because his father (who the kayak's belonged to) was all worried that I wouldn't be able to kayak at all. Jeez. This family has known me since I was a little kid. They should know how sporty I am!

It was lovely out on the lake - we kayaked from one end to the other taking just over an hour to do so and feeling pretty tired by the end. It was a beautiful day but windy and the water was extremely choppy and we ended up soaking wet! Well let me tell you, I was the one laughing when after getting completely soaked kayaking, I could slip into my skirt and boots and be all nice and dry while Locker Boy had to endure his wet jeans!

We then decided to head to the local pub where they make their own micro-brew (the master brewer graduated with us from high school - see it's that kind of small town that my parents live in). There we had pints - oops... I guess pints are in the British word. I think in America it's drafts?

Anyway, we had some drafts of the local brew. Another thing I LOVE about America: micro-brews! I had yummy American Wheat beer (or 2 or possibly 3) and also a fabulous pumpkin spice beer. Gotta love America and all it's flavour options (if you are American, you know what I mean - and no this does not exist in other countries like it does here - I have never seen pumpkin spice listed as a flavor outside the good old USA). I'm feeling fall festive and so I'm loving pumpkin flavors right now (seems like everything from coffee, to muffins, to beer has this option here).

Locker Boy was interesting to talk to and surprisingly a good conversationalist. Although the interesting part is that we were so different. He was Mr. American and I was Ms International... He was all waxing poetic about why guns are great (Yes Europe, I'm so serious here) and I was all like - "guns are illegal in Europe and therefore the homicide rate is lower." I told him that cops in the London do not even carry guns (thank you Mr. Sexy Policeman for that bit of info) and he found this hard to believe. Although we were both stumped over the question of how to "de-gun" America if it ever came to that (I admit that would be a hard one), leading him to conclude that my visions of a gun-free America are ridiculous and therefore I should suck it up and learn to love guns. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em right? Right? Well maybe that will be my next purchase after the apartment - KIDDING!

He admitted he has conservative views - i.e. he is was against abortion and gay marriage and thinks Obama's an idiot. I actually kept my mouth shut and left him to his right-wing views without trying to argue for once - actually I was shocked silent since I had forgotten that yes, this is America. I realized that I'm kind of ill-equipped to go head-to-head on American politics at the moment. I need a quick brush up on American politics and to figure out where I stand exactly on key issues (it's strange but it was easy to not pick sides on American politics while living abroad, and I'm used to being the conservative one when discussing politics with Europeans).

And of course I talked about my life abroad and my travels. He seemed impressed with all the places that I had been. And of course talking about traveling got me excited and all I wanted to do was get back on a plane and go back abroad. (Sob).

And then we had this conversation which I feel perfectly exemplifies why it's going to be so hard to fit back into American life:

Him: "Like are there any countries you would never go to? I mean, like why would you want to go to Iceland? You wouldn't ever go there right?"

Me: "Well, I was actually there on Wednesday..."


Locker Boy: "You are kidding right?"

Me: "Well no, I technically was only at the airport so that doesn't really count. But yes, I was in Iceland on Wednesday for 2 hours, so I'm not lying. But I hear it's a cool place and it is somewhere I really want to go and hang out..."


Locker Boy: "Wow. It's kind of hard to talk to you. You have done everything. I have done nothing unless you count going to New Orleans two years ago."


So... there it is. My life as an International Woman of Mystery is over. And not only that. Having that experience makes me weird and just plain hard to talk to. Great!

And so the date ended - and admitedly conservative talk aside, I had a really nice time. I went home and hung out with my parents and their dog and their cat and my blog.

On Sunday, I laid out at the pool and willed the autumn sun to give me some color - it did but only a little. Then went for a 6 mile run followed by more exercises. Then my Mom made me my favorite lobster dinner!

On Monday, I spent the morning searching apartment listings in Boston (next task) and doing more move-related emailing (i.e. trying to get my security deposit back from my London apartment, arguing on the phone with British Telecom over my bill - again, trying to figure how to wire my money from my London account to my US account, and hassling with the movers over my customs documents). And then I spent the afternoon at the mall wherea among other things I purchased an IPAD!!!!

As if it wasn't enough that I bought a car this weekend, I had to then rush out and buy and Ipad too (say nothing of a few new clothes to update the back-to-work wardrobe). Let me tell you, the Ipad is soooo cool (except for the fact that you cannot blog on it - you can read blogs, but you can't blog, or at least I can't find the right app - does anyone know of one)?

Is it really bad that I secretly think that my Ipad is cooler than my new car? Although I might change my mind tomorrow when I actually take possession of the car.

So, that was it. My exciting first weekend back in the US. A far cry from my club nights and meeting hot boys in London... And a bit more expensive too.*

*When talking about what "moving home" would be like, my Swedish friends tried to reassure me that my life in the US wouldn't be so different than my life anywhere else. I told them they were crazy. I was all like "Hello? Boston is a small city with a very student oriented night life. The bars close at 1 or 2 am. There is no hot single 30 something scene like there is in Stockholm. There are no nightclubs like there are in London. My life is totally going to change. I'm going to spend my weekends hiking and doing outdoorsy sporty country things."

But Swedish ladies - here's your proof! This International Woman of Mystery has become a Country Girl!
They didn't believe me...


Mademoiselle London said...

I was going to comment your last post but here it is - your new one! :) Well I envy your Ipad purchase - and I think it is perfectly NORMAL that you actually like it better than a car. Although you may change your mind when you start to drive it and when you realize that it is actually YOUR car. Gives your freedom. :) It's a shame you haven't been longer in London. Last weekend was fantastic - sunny and over 25 degrees! :) But as they say - winter is coming (actually it's sunny today too!) and it's suppose to be SNOWY like last year. So embrace the madness (as Simon Cowell recently said on Xfactor - dunno if you watched that) and prepare yourself! :)
P.S. Show me a pic of your IPAD, not a car! Hehehe :D xox

Lifebeginsat30ty said...

In order of most importance of my life:
1. Mac
2. Iphone
(when I had a car, it was 3)
4. black wedge leather boots

See, we all have priorities ;)

And don't get me started on American boys. DC is close to Virginia, m'kay? But see the things about Beantown is that there are a lot of liberal hippie intellectuals that could actually have a conversation with you. Stay away from those small towns!

Average Girl said...

Listen girl.. I give you one month of pity time and then I am reaching thru the screen and smacking you in the back of the head with my best Canadian accent of "snap outta of it" followed by an "eh".

And if that doesn't work, I am grabbing you and sticking you in this small town I live in where relatives marry relatives and people walk around with third nipples and think that gourmet food is Wendy's instead of McDonalds... And yes, I totally get what you are going thru, been to Europe, loved it, didn't want to come back (London to be exact), lived here in Canada in a multi cultural city for 13 years with amazing things happening to end up in hickville where every second guy's name is Buddy and are still wearing trucker tee shirts and gawd forbid, the baseball hats of every bar they have ever been too... So.. do you appreciate Boston more? LOL


Matt79 said...

There must be some people there who would be energised by your International stories and might even be inspired to consider adventures of their own! Maybe especially young 'uns who aren't yet too fixed in their ideas.

Sara Louise said...

I'm with Average Girl, snap out of it!
Sure you're going to have to deal with some small minded, small town boneheads, but there are plenty of open minded, interesting and fun people in western Mass too (for example, my sister is an acupuncturist who spent time studying in India and she lives there with her boyfriend who used to live in Denmark).
And Boston is not a bad city, you just need to find your nitch. But you will! And until then, take solace in the fact that you have hundreds of television channels to entertain you! x

International Woman of Mystery said...

@M London - it always seems to be nice in places when I LEAVE them - too bad. But it's really nice here too. Nothing beaths New England in the fall!

@Lifebeginsat30ty - thanks for making me feel better about my priorities! Well at least American boys are good blog material - although it might get old

@Average Girl - moving back home is going to have it's ups and downs -for sure. But at least it's good blogging material. I would love to visit your small town and meet a 'Buddy' of my own - hee hee... Are you happy there or do you ever want to move away to a city? I struggle with the small town/city thing as I think I need both. That's why Stockholm was so perfect - small city with lots of nature and great nightlife and lots of hot single men!

@Matt - I'm not sure that my stories are appropriate for children. ;)

@Sara Louise - I know I will have to snap out of it. But it's only been 6 days... Anyway, it's great blogging material. I am thinking of a way to highlight both the bad and the good things...

Jonas said...

Way to go on the iPad Jess. I know you won't regret it :) I don't see why you shouldn't be able to blog on it, really no reason at all...what kind of application do you need? I don't know how you blog on your computer ;)

I wouldn't say that being abroad makes you weird to talk to, seriously do you want an American man who has never been outside of the continental United States and thinks guns are cool, gays are an abomination and abortions should be illegal? Ehm...

If bad come to worse, there are Europeans in the United States too :)

Average Girl said...

To answer your question Sunshine... I love the fact that I am only 5 minutes from home, and I love the fact that I can afford a house with a yard here, and that I these fantastic, quirky, book worthy characters I call neighbours... but I detest that there is no culture, that if you wanted a little black dress, you would have to go to walmart to buy it, and really what would you need a little black dress here for except may be funerals. I grew up in a small town not far from here and as soon as I hit 19, I packed me bags and moved.... There's always good with bad, no yin without yang, everything has its pros and cons... buying a house and not fighting traffic and a slower pace just seemed more a pro at the time, the fact that I want to naw off my arm now because sheer boredom, seems to be a small price to pay... I hope it gets more interesting for you darlin! At least you keeping me giggling!

Queen of the Rant said...

men just do not understand we need time to prep these things