“The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G. K. Chesterton
Returning home after so long an absence is a strange sensation. I wholeheartedly agree with the quote above. I’m back in the house I grew up in, in the city I know like the back of my hand. Everything is the same, of course, but everything is different. It’s almost as if I forgot how to live here.
I’ve been home for about a week and a half and am still surprised every day by little hints that I’m not in Spain anymore. I try bagging my own groceries before realizing someone is paid to do that for me. I do a double take when I see a clock that says 3:00 when it’s supposed to say 15:00. When flushing the toilet I’m startled to find a lever on the side rather than a button on top or a chain to pull. At restaurants I start thinking about asking for the check twenty minutes before I want it only to find it already sitting on the table. I forget that when I order I have to specify exactly how I want it cooked, what condiments, and what side dishes. If tomorrow is Sunday and I want to do something mildly productive, that’s okay! Businesses will actually be open.
But most of all, people speak ENGLISH. All of them. Random ones I overhear at the store. Customers at work. People on TV (The Simpsons are back in English!). I’m used to turning my head every time I hear English, because in Málaga odds are I know the person. Not quite the case back here.
I’m slowly adjusting and things are becoming more normal. Maybe by the time I go back to Spain in September I’ll have made the transition, only to start the process all over again in my other “home.”