Posts Tagged ‘homes’
I’ve been staying in an apartment with possibly the best view of the tallest building in Latin America — and now I’m on way back to the States. It’s been hard to pinpoint, the reverse culture shock I’ve experienced since moving to New York.
It’s weird to say that I’ve even moved to the States after four years away. Because though it’s been nice being back and seeing old friends, meeting new people and going to new places, I’ve also experienced a number of what I call culture aftershocks.
Like how orderly and predictable transportation is: the subway, the buses, even the car traffic to a great extent. And how sanitized and over-purified other things are: the water, the food, the environment. And how reserved and detached people are: almost tripping over themselves as they run through their disciplined daily routines. It takes an enormous amount of effort not to pull acquaintances in and kiss them on the cheek when I see them, instead of the awkward hovering we do when we run into each other. I already miss the feeling of pushing through a tangled crowd, eating a taco spilling chorizo that I bought from a street stand while fielding enthusiastic calls of “Morena!!” and dodging careening cars, buses and pedestrians as I revel in the messiness of my complicated home.
It’s been a long ride. When I left Mexico City at the end of April, I landed in New York. After a brief two weeks there, I was on my way to Nairobi, Kenya. At one point during my four weeks in Kenya, I went to Naivasha, a town in Kenya’s Rift Valley. A few days after I got back, I went to Kampala, Uganda, where I stayed for a week and wished it was longer.
When that week ended, it was time to return to New York. So I boarded a plane that took me from Entebbe, Uganda to Sharjah, United Arab Emirates with a layover in Nairobi. Upon disembarking in Sharjah, I took a bus and cab to the airport in Dubai, where I then had a flight to New York — with a layover in Moscow (yes I know I went further away from my destination, often the lure of price wins). Some observations from this timeline:
1) Hanging in the Dubai airport with a charming, interesting Zimbabwean man and two cranky but funny Nigerian women who ordered me to move from my seat (along with a hilarious Congolese man who kept substituting French for English) — I almost didn’t want to leave for my departure lounge. Almost.
2) Being held by a Russian customs woman who didn’t believe my American passport was real (all the extra pages and African visas!).
3) The deep luxury of the United Arab Emirates embodied to me by the fluffy white caftans of the men and the ornate, almost gaudy royal buildings, juxtaposed with the cold shabbiness of the Moscow airport, which was made complete by a designated smoking stand where Russians huddled, puffing silently.
And now, I am finally settling for a good, long while in New York. Unexpectedly, the idea of staying in one place is very appealing.
Photo by Richard Mosse