Thursday, December 18, 2008

Back in the USA (BITUSA)- Day 1

12/17/08

It was good to feel the slap of cold air on the Jetway at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport dressed in my finest Samoan shirt and seeing my wife, all lovely, scanning the travelers at baggage claim, and not seeing me as I approached her.

It was good to be driven in her new red all-wheel drive, turbo Audi through the streets covered with newly fallen snow to our condo which we had occupied for only two months before leaving for Samoa last year, and to see how she had made the condo a place for both of us with my clothes hanging neatly in the closet.

It was good to visit my dentist for my annual Peace Corps dental exam and to learn how he had survived his bout with urinary bladder cancer and the wonders of modern surgery whereby a piece of intestine was used to reconstruct his bladder, alleviating the need for an external bladder sac.

It was good to return to my favorite Wal-Mart where English is the second language for an eye exam, have them replace clouded lens at no charge, to meet a recent Russian immigrant employee with a law school education who in five days would become a U.S. citizen as she wondered what new name she would chose to put on her citizenship documents (Natalie was my suggestion). Yet I noticed a seemly less crowded store and parking lot than I recalled.

It was good to meet my son, daughter and her husband; to learn about my son's rising accounting career and his serious girl friend, Heidi; to have my daughter and son-in-law talk about their new house; and to share our memories of their Samoan visit last August.

It was hard to see the tears well up in my wife's eyes as she read letters from our Samoan host mother and her collegiate daughter, pleading for her return to Samoa before my permanent departure next August, how much they missed and loved her, and how my wife realized that she was probably the only person who had ever recognized our host mother as an individual person.

As I drove in the traffic through what seemed like endless red lights, watched people rushing about with cell phones held to their ears, heard the airplanes overhead in the condo on their their airport approach, felt the dryness of a heated room, the looseness of my old clothes, and enjoyed high speed Internet, I wondered what the next couple of weeks would bring.

1 comment:

Matt H said...

Uncle Nick, Welcome!! Home? Hope we get a chance to visit. Matthew