Nope. Because the US doesn't have reciprocity with Canada (what?), I have to retake the written and driving test again regardless. WHAT! You're joking. So, let the sucker expire, ain't nobody got time for that.
Telling my grandma goodbye in the DMV parking lot was probably the only time I got sad. Because she got sad. My Nanny means the entire world to me and I know very well she can be a difficult old lady, but I love her and I feel like she is under appreciated sometimes. I try really hard to go out of my way when I'm home or whenever I can to make her feel like I care. I mean, the reality of it is, she's a grandmother and although she's pretty healthy and kicking it for the most part, no one knows how many years she has left. I want to make sure I do everything I can to be grateful to her and her Fox-News-loving ways and spend quality time with her while she's still around. So yes, I was sad to leave her.
I finally get to Nashville 8 1/2 hours later to find a Cheesecake Factory Vanilla Bean Cheesecake in the fridge with "Happy Birthday" candles on it. Please be mine, please be mine. "Hey...uh...whose birthday was it..." "Oh! Yours!" YEEEEEEESSSSSSSSS!!!!
My next and last few days in the US were spent mostly shopping. And not really for happy things like new maxi skirts but for that dreaded yearly supply of things that we must get before heading back this way. Deodorant, toothpaste, tampons, ranch dressing...life's essentials.
I did get to spend some relaxing last days with my mother, which was super nice considering I had been on the go for two weeks straight. I also got to spend some last morning cuddles with my cat.
My dad flew in Thursday morning so after I picked him up (with him being very confused as to how to navigate an airport, no less) we head downtown Nashville so I can show him the sights. He's never been here and I don't live here so I really don't know what there is to show him. I know downtown. That's really about it. So we walk and go in all the cowboy boot stores and get some BBQ at Jack's (famous), see some more then head to where the Grand Old Opry is. It turns out that the GOO is just a big industrial arena style looking building and what my dad really wanted to see was The Ryman, which he didn't and got the two confused. So we wandered around the Opry Mall (biggest Forever 21 I've ever been to next to the one in Seoul, dying) and then went back downtown so dad could hear some music...you know, because it's Nashville. We popped into a few bars that had some country playing and hung out for a bit. It was getting late and I had lots to do so we headed back to where his hotel was, had some dinner then I dropped him off and went back to mom's. I took one last bath in her giant tub and then afterward I somehow managed to get most everything I bought into two suitcases (exactly 50 lbs) and two monstrous carry ons. There are still two boxes at my mom's waiting to be shipped here of stuff I couldn't fit. Mostly food items. It's going to be like Christmas, I can't even remember what's in them!
I crawled into that very soft bed one last time with a lot of different, opposing emotions running through my brain as I drift off into my last American sleep. The next morning came fast and we loaded up, went to get my dad and headed to the airport, right now my least favorite place on earth.
I don't like my parents being in such close proximity to each other. It makes me extremely, extremely uncomfortable. So really, my last few moments there with them was spent in complete anxiety mode. I did my best to hide it and said my last goodbyes to my mother. She was visibly upset and I obviously wasn't anywhere near crying and it makes me feel really guilty. I apologized for not being able to cry and be sad because mad is still my go-to emotion. She understands and we hug and she leaves. I feel for her and my dad. Watching your kid go off and leave for another year. But knowing that it's my last one does make them feel a little better, I think. My dad is flying out as well so we go through security together and find my gate. He sits with me until I leave for Dallas because his flight isn't for another few hours. Once I'm called up, I do this, finally, for the very last time and tell my dad bye. I'm a little more upset to leave my dad because if you read this blog you'll know that he recently had a minor heart attack. It makes me more worried about him and just that much more upset to leave him with only my brother to look after him down there in Wilmington. I board the plane (while hitting everyone down the aisle on the head with my gargantuan bags) and off I go.
Once in Dallas I realize that it's lunchtime and I need to have one last fabulous American something or other before I depart. I see McDonald's. Filet-O-Fish? Um, YES. I only have about 15 minutes so I scarf it down, enjoying it as much as possible then grab my window seat. The plane is a 2-5-2 and I was praying no one would sit next to me but, alas, this plane is packed full so unlucky again.
This time I made myself stay awake the entire flight so I'd be exhausted when I got home. I was arriving at night so there was no extended period of time between landing and bedtime to make myself more tired. I watched Breaking Dawn, Silver Linings Playbook...another movie I can't remember...two travel shows, Big Bang Theory, New Girl (twice) and did some reading. By the time we landed I was about ready to murder anyone who got in my way and made my trek off that plane and through the airport longer than necessary. Customs was a breeze thankfully, got my bags, spotted Al (aw) and got on the subway I haven't seen in five weeks.
Fast forward a week and I'm now sitting on my floor drinking a Coke Zero (I want a Diet Pepsi) and snacking on coconut crackers (I'd rather have some Apple Jacks) while still not really adjusting well to being here. I'm homesick. I'm homepeople sick. Everything about being here seems...wrong. I'm having a very hard time when I feel like I should be in the United States. Al doesn't like it here. I don't like it here. But here we are, because we're somewhat imprisoned by our finances and Al's American Visa situation. It'll take another 6-12 months before he can even work in the United States and once we're there, we have to buy two cars and have enough money to start a life...money we don't have right now and money I'd rather be spending on vacations to exotic destinations. Priorities.
But, at the same time, I would regret moving home right now because there is still so much travelling I want to do first. Our plan is to go home by way of Europe with hopefully a shorter vacation during the year thrown in somewhere this summer. I think I'd be really disappointed and probably a little distraught if I'd move home without seeing some more countries. I feel like there are so many incredible places on this planet to see with my own eyes that it's hard to choose which ones to do now and which to hopefully, eventually, do later.
As much as I miss home and really am having a hard time being here, I gained like three pounds while I was there. I forgot what a sedentary life Americans lead. I think I've gotten more exercise while being here this week by just walking all the places I have to walk and lugging my groceries two blocks than I got the entire five weeks I was home. Home-car-work-car-store-car-gas-car-home. There is such little activity being done, just sitting all the time. I get exercise here on accident. In the US, you have to actually put an effort into making sure you get enough to stay healthy. It's something I have to keep in mind when we move back or I'm going to be a super fatty. And the food, oooooh the food. It's so amazingly scrumptious. Before I left Korea, I had in mind all the things I wanted to eat and trust me, the list was long and didn't include many vegetables. But once I actually got home, I found myself not really wanting it after a while. I would eat it just for the sake of eating it, whether I wanted that to eat or not. Even if I didn't really want that Yoohoo (omgyoohoosogood) right then, I got one and drank it anyway because I knew that soon I wouldn't be able to have it. Same with Filet-O-Fish. I ate like three! (I don't care how gross you think that is, it's delicious) It's not necessarily what I wanted eat for lunch, but, welp, I can't get them in Korea so I might as well eat it anyway. Is that a salad covered in ranch and barbecue sauce? I'll take three. I did that with most things, actually, so that's probably why I got slightly chubbier. Hopefully once I'm moved back and realize that all the food would be around anytime I truly wanted it, I'll steer clear.
That five weeks was such an up and down emotional roller coaster for many, many reasons but all in all, I had a great time and I don't regret anything, other than the fact that five weeks definitely isn't long enough. There are some things that I wish would've gone a little differently, but it's nothing I can help now so there's no use dwelling on it. I'm just going to figure my situation out here, enjoy my new duvet and six new pairs of shoes and just wait for summertime when I can go to the beach every weekend and get a tan and get through the next 52 weeks as quickly as possible.
I'd like to thank you for just spending seven hours reading about my American tales. I'm tired of writing so I can only imagine you're tired of reading. xo