My Old World with a New Appreciation

The past few days, well, if I’m being honest weeks and months, have been, shall we say, overwhelming. Finishing chemo, a party, the PET scan, the results, graduation, prom, end of school, friends leaving. It’s simply been a lot. Needless to say, as much as I am going to miss my friends who are off to far-away places for good and miss the boy for a week and Montevideo, (although the cold, no) I am elated to be back on US soil. It’s a needed familiarity I didn’t realize that I had been missing until I heard a tourist ask a woman where the stop was for the Miami Beach bus and heard and UNDERSTOOD her very elaborate English answer. I didn’t realize I was holding my breath a little bit until I took my first sip of my really good coffee and tasted my first New York bagel. That doesn’t mean that the US is calling me back, it simply means that I am perfectly content to be visiting for a little while, soaking in the familiar sound of my native language and filling my mouth with delicious American diversity. 

I usually don’t say this about Miami, but it was exactly what I needed …the contrast rapid Spanish among the very American comforts. I literally walked into a restroom and had the cleaning woman explain which stalls were usable in Spanish and answered back in Spanish, all the while praising the gods of strong toilet paper and Dyson hand dryers. 

I am sitting at a New York style deli, listening to Latino music and making love to my bagel and shmeer. I almost cried when the waitress plopped a big old bottle of ketchup in front of me. Real American ketchup. I may die happy right now. I am so proud of all that Uruguay has taught me and how much I have grown, but man it is good to be home where the bus driver yells back at the crazy passenger for standing up during transit and the passenger yells back, “Don’t worry I used to be a water skier.” God bless the USA. 

And while I don’t get to actually see Nico as he steps into the Miami airport and experiences all of the glory that is Florida. (Miami no less) I keep thinking about all of this through a foreigner’s eyes. Because I kind of am a foreigner. I forgot that no matter where you go you need a sweater in the summer because the AC is on full blast. I completely disengaged from the fact that the 7.95 early bird breakfast gets you two eggs, home fires, a bagel and coffee and it’s all way too much for one person to eat. Don’t get me wrong, I am a patriot willing to do my duty and consume every morsel, but Uruguayans barely make it though a piece of toast for breakfast. Or the fact that I look at the TV and baseball is on loop not soccer. And I must say as much as I enjoyed the pilot telling us the score of the Uruguay vs. Chile game and hearing the plane erupt, it wasn’t the same as hearing Goooooooooooolllll. So while I am very much enjoying my big ass breakfast and decent coffee, I am also very appreciative of what I left behind. I guess you could say that I have the best of both worlds…I get my US fix once a year and my never-ending adventure the rest of the time. 

Whoops, coffee is out, and as soon as I wrote that the waitress asked if I was ready for a warm up. Hand over heart, I pledge allegiance to the United States of free refills. 

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