When we moved from Sweden to the US last January, it was kind of a soft re-patriation. We had our house to renovate, we didn't have to get jobs right away and the London thing was simmering. Now, when the London thing comes to an end, we are truly moving back to settle for awhile. And truth be told, the London thing has revealed to us that we are actually quite ready to make our home in the US for a bit. Even so, the US is an odd, odd place! I guess it's partially those odd things that lure us but I know we still have a substantial amount of adjustment ahead of us.
My 10 days here have been glorious in part because of the weekend in Chicago where I crammed in an amazing number of visits with people. But there have also been some things that have made me go "Wow, that's kind of weird."
To begin with, far and away the single most disturbing thing about life in the US is the gun culture. I've said this from January and I'm saying it now. It all came back to me again when I was entering a shopping mall in a Chicago suburb and saw this no guns sign on the door. It really took me aback. I subsequently saw it on the door of the restaurant I went to that night and my friend the nurse practitioner said that the hospital has them too. As if we needed to be told that guns are not allowed in certain places. The conceal and carry laws are very disturbing to me and I will continue to attest to the fact that this permission has nothing to do with the 2nd amendment.
Other insanities, in my mind, included the crazy lawn decorations that were popping up for Thanksgiving. Granted, with Christmas strewn across all the stores, I am glad that no lawns had sprouted candy canes but I did see a few pilgrim/pumpkin/turkey displays that I scarcely remember from my previous years of living in the US. One lawn featured giant blow ups of 2 pilgrims and a turkey. Another sported this light up set. Of course, there's nothing inherently wrong with decorating your lawn with these things...it's just a uniquely American thing.
Crazy hit high decibles when suddenly the internet exploded regarding the holiday cup at Starbucks. It's red. That's all and somehow some NON-REPRESENTATIVE Christian got his knickers in a twist because they lacked the true meaning of Christmas. Um, in years past it has mainly been a snowman or sled or wreath and if you were living in the southern hemisphere that would piss you off because you might expect beach scenes. But seriously folks...can we please stop with the war on Christmas. Thankfully, both conservative and liberal friends a like agree about how silly this is and most are saying that the best way to keep Christ in Christmas is to be kind, not smug, be compassionate, not self-righteous and for God's sake (literally) can we please stop asking modern culture to represent us? We are not persecuted and this crazy needs to stop as much as the rampant gun culture. Here's what really kills me. Some Christians are mad because it's become politically incorrect to say Merry Christmas but they really couldn't care less about the rampant killing that is going on in our communities because it has become politically incorrect to stand up to the NRA. My oh my, we need to get our priorities figured out.
On the upside of living in America, Trader Joe's and DSW shoe stores continue to dazzle. Fuel is cheap, customer service is generally good and laundry doesn't take all day. So as our time in London wanes (nope, don't have an end date yet), and the American horizon comes into view, we shall delight in some things and shake our heads at others...just like most Americans do I suspect.