10 dumb things I am really looking forward to when I visit the US in 10 days

I got a crazy idea this morning when I found out (surprise!) that I don’t have to teach during the last week of December. Could I…go home for the holidays? Two hours later I had tickets to and from Little Rock. Crazy! Crazycrazycrazy. I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that I’m going to the US; mentally, I had prepared myself to be away from the homeland for a full 9 months. I’m really excited though. Triply excited, in fact, thanks to the combination of the excitement that I always feel pre-international travel (I leave in only 10 days!), the fact that I’m going HOME, of all places, and also because Christmas is wonderful. I’ve channeled this excited-energy into making a list of some of the frivolous things that I intend to embrace with gusto during my week in Arkansas.

1. Having conversations about things other than America, my nationality, or cultural differences. I’d be willing to bet money that I say some variation of “America” more times in one day than the President.

2. Driving. Everywhere. By myself. Power 92 JAMZ on full blast. Yes I know carbon emissions climate change evil American behavior cut me a break it’s the holidays okay?

3. Jogging outside without looking like an alien. I was running around 15-20 miles a week at the end of the summer, which is not much for serious runners but was a really big deal for me. The recent snowfall has made jogging completely impossible here, but honestly I was too chicken to do it before anyway because of all the weird looks I got and I’ve only done it twice since September.

4. PEANUT. BUTTER. On a toasted English muffin.

5. Small talk with strangers. One of the weirdest things about living here is that I move around in public in total silence. Even if a someone asks me a direct question I rarely if ever answer with more than a word or two to avoid outing myself as foreign.

6. Coffee culture. Cheap coffee with unlimited refills. Fancy fair-trade bougie coffee shops. Breakfast, brunch, lunch coffee. Decaf after 4. Coffeecoffeecoffee.

7. Guacamole. Tacos. Chili Rellenos. All of the Mexican food. This is going to be a Feliz Navidad Christmas all the way.

8. Listening to Wilco’s “via Chicago” during my Chicago layover. Okay so this one is kind of hipster-specific, but it’s been a holiday tradition of mine since I started flying home from college. To the point that it’s the first thing I thought of when I saw Chicago O’Hare on my flight itinerary. Any excuse to listen to Summerteeth again, right?

9. Candy canes and popcorn. Maple syrup. Easy open ziplock bags. Holiday candles. And all the other random consumer-stuff that I’m embarrassed actually matter to me.

10. My bed. As nice as my dorm room is here, the dorm bed is basically a cot. Even after I piled the “mattress” from my second cot-bed on top of my first mattress. Yeah, my bed is going to be a hard thing to part with now that I know what my Russia-alternative is.