Sunday, June 6, 2010

Semi-Insightful USA Recap

Only 4 months after my arrival in Australia and 3 weeks after I began work, I took a two week vacation back to the States. Yes, the trip seemed a bit awkwardly timed, but I was a groomsman in a wedding so of course I had to go back. And in typical Phill fashion, I gallivanted across the country - stopping everywhere to see everyone. I spent a few days in Seattle, followed by a brief stop in Houston, with a week in Florida as the grand finale. The trip proved very useful in two main ways: (1) it was the perfect opportunity to buy all of the clothes that I’ve needed but have been completely unable to afford at Aussie department stores and (2) it made me reflect on my time in Australia and my big move here. Sorry, I might get all insightful later in the post. I’ll try not to, since that’s just not my style. First, here are some highlights:

1. I may or may not have purchased nearly $200 worth of chocolate from Theo Chocolate in Seattle. It may or may not have been enough to make them search my bag at the Houston airport and question me on it. TSA: “Are these gifts?” Me: “No. I’m a fat ass. Thanks for pointing it out.” I don’t think TSA appreciates my humor.

2. Even after being gone for 6 months, I was remembered by a waiter at the DeLuxe and a waitress at the Wallingford Pizza House. I’m a loyal customer, even from 10,000 miles away.

3. Waking up in the middle of the night with a cat purring ON MY HEAD. Thanks a lot, Nick. I guess that was more of an anti-highlight.

4. Food, food, and more food – from the gluttonous meal at Kingfish Cafe in Seattle, to Tex-Mex at Chuy’s and BBQ at Goode Company in Houston, to real bagels and pizza and ice cream (Jaxson’s!) and Cuban food in Florida, to two stops each at Chick-fil-a and Chipotle! I ate my way from the west coast, to the gulf coast, to the east coast, and loved every minute of it.

5. Winning $65 playing blackjack at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino at our mini Bachelor Party. Woohoo!

6. Learning how to “Cunt Blast” someone, courtesy of the groom’s college friends from Duke. You’ll have to ask me about this one in person if you want to know more.

7. Keeping Macy’s in business by spending ridiculous amounts of money there. Overall, I spent over $1,000 on new clothes. Over $700 of that was at Macy’s. Yummy.

8. Three words: Best. Wedding. Ever.  A rabbi who tells jokes?  Not tripping or sneezing during the ceremony?  Latkes at the cocktail hour?  Open bar?  The bride doing a shot with me?  The bride’s parents doing a shot with me?  I don’t even know what the best part was!!!

9. And of course, seeing all of my friends and family!  Special thanks to Rob & Ellie, Nick, and Jenny & James for hosting me, to David for the discount at Theo, and to Jason & Sasha for an awesome wedding!

Now I’m back in Australia and I’ve realized a few things. Not to get too deep or insightful or anything, but here are some reflections from somewhere inside my near-soulless self:

I used to bitch about the food in Seattle all the time. After living in Sydney, I now have a newly found appreciation for it. And I miss it.

Old crushes linger on. Maybe I need to get some new ones here in Sydney. Any volunteers?

I love my car, but I had to say goodbye to her. There’s no point in letting her sit there unused in my mom’s driveway. I gave her a kiss on the steering wheel before I left, and I know that I’m going to start bawling the moment my mom calls to tell me she sold her. Is that healthy?  Maybe not, but I don’t care. 7 years. 85,000 miles. 12 states and 1 Canadian province. And many memories. Denise the Nissan and I have come a long way together. She and I have seen more of the USA than most Americans probably have. Without a car waiting for me in the USA, I guess this means I’m going to stay in Australia for a good long while.

Seattle still feels a little like home. I miss it. And Houston feels like home to a lesser extent. I sometimes miss it a little too. And so does Florida, but to an even lesser extent. But I don’t miss living in Florida at all. It sucks. But Sydney…

I landed at 6am on Saturday in Sydney. Maybe my emotions were influenced a bit by the 25 hours of traveling, or the extreme tiredness I felt after two weeks of non-stop activity, or the sad thought of never seeing my car again, but when I got out of the cab and lugged my suitcases upstairs, I laid down and thought to myself “It’s good to be home.” I was starting to miss it.

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