I wanted to title this post "heading home" but that's really a misnomer. America is my home but I don't really have a "home" so the way I define " home" is where I plant my suitcase and enjoy the company of family and friends. For example, this week my home was in Izmir and Istanbul with Eric, Laura, and Toby. Morning coffee was brewed with a tiny filter press and diluted with hot water to make four cups, but the warmth and relaxation of morning coffee with family was the same. Driving down the freeway with GPS and me as my usual annoying co-pilot self could have been us in any city in the US...some tension and lots of laughter.
I'm reflecting on "going home" because, although I'm super excited to be home, I'm also nervous because I'm not sure what to expect. I know there is the reality of "reverse culture shock" and I can anticipate some things that will annoy me. For example, last year when I left, the customer service in DC and the filth on the Metro appalled me. The lack of "hello, may i help you", the clerks chomping gum and chatting on the phone during transactions, and the level of general work incompetence were disappointments to my usual American pride. Granted, I have suffered through layers of inefficiencies and bureaucracy for the past nine months and been disgusted by the litter destroying the otherwise beautiful landscape, but I have never been met with rude service. As a matter of fact, the people here have been SO nice, that it's difficult to be upset for long about the processes and it's easy to eventually ignore the trash.
But here's my dream: American time management, efficiencies, ingenuity, entrepreneurship and the cleaning up of our Capital city coupled with Turkish hospitality, kindness, and patience all in one visit home. These are achievable goals and worthy of promoting pride in the USA, my "home."