I spent two years living in the middle of nowhere, so I wasn’t surprised when I came back to the US and things seemed different. It’s been almost a year to the day that I’ve returned and some things still amaze me.
I simply cannot get over all of the airplanes and helicopters in the sky at all times. Back on my island, seeing an airplane caused so much excitement among the children in my family that they would run around the yard pointing at the sky and shouting “Oak Sohk! Oak Sohk!” (Literally, flying boat.)
When I moved back to Sacramento I was astounded by how many planes flew over my parents’ house every day. It turns out that the house I grew up in is only a few miles from an air force base; I just never really noticed all of the air traffic before.
Now that I’m in DC I’m constantly fascinated by the air traffic coming from DC National that flies so close to the Washington Monument. I’m also regularly distracted by the parade of helicopters from the military, local television stations and occasionally Marine One.
The other big change has more to do with living in a small isolated community than living in a foreign one. I had to relearn the basic rules of city life: don’t talk, don’t smile and don’t make eye contact. On my island everyone knew who I was. It was an unusual day when I walked all the way home without being offered a ride in someone’s car or truck.
Getting a ride home from work today is something that no one I know would ever even consider. Besides, I’m sure I’d be too busy talking on my phone or listening to my iPod to even notice if someone offered.