It’s been 15 days since my feet last touched African soil, my lungs breathed in the fragrant Senegalese air, and I felt comfortable in a culture. It’s a weird feeling, let me tell you, to come back to your home culture and to feel like you have to readjust to what should be normal. There are so many things I’m having to re-learn from how to properly respond to people who talk to you (in English) in a department store and how to respond back in English to getting sick after eating a bowl of oatmeal or even re-learning how to drive. Which, let’s be honest, I never was that great of a driver anyways. It’s a miracle I’m alive! Praise Him!
There’s so many things I’m walking through that make me look so, so incredibly awkward. For instance, yesterday I went to Target to buy some curtains, cleaning supplies and sponges. I walked out of the bathroom towards the carts. My peripheral vision must be off because I swear I did not see this Power-Walking-Get-Out-Of-My-Way-I’m-On-A-Mission man. It was a disaster. So here I am B-lining it to a cart (it was more like a lower case “L” because who walks in the shape of a “B”?), and here he is saving the day with his lightening legs and we just about collide! Less than a foot away from each other, I had no other option but to scream. In Target. I gasped and then said, “Ah, I’m so sorry. I’m not paying attention.” But my words were just thrown in the trash. He was moving to way too fast to stop and care about my apology. #America.
Oh, and then… I was talking to my sister about these new Jessica Simpson jeans I bought for $15. I was so proud that they were the dark shade I wanted and less than $20 bucks! (That should have been my sign…). They were skinny jeans, which I have transitioned out of because I’m not in my early 20s anymore but you always need one pair to wear with flowy tops and boots! And heck, they were Jessica Simpson jeans. If you know anything at all about me at all, you know I LOVE her.
Anyway, I’m talking to my sister and telling her, “T, these jeans are so comfortable. They are so stretchy! But wait, that’s weird. They don’t have front pockets…. oh my gosh! AM I WEARING JEGGINGS?” In all honesty, they have back pockets and felt like stretchy jeans. Can you tell they were Jeggings?
I see what you did there, America. You got really good at making jeggings that they actually look like jeans. Seriously though, when did the Mom-Jean-Jeggings die and this switch up occur? So now, I am a slightly-embarrassed owner of Jessica Simpson Jeggings. Sidenote: Transitioning out of skinny jeans because you’re too old never leads to jeggings. EVER.
And lastly, I can’t read street signs in English anymore. It may be because I’ve been reading road signs, advertisements and building names in French and Wolof for so long or the fact that I’m concentrating too hard on not dying while driving that I can’t make out words. I am trying to learn the layout of Memphis right now (that’s where I am for the next few weeks. It was an impromptu decision to come.).
I was driving to Barnes and Noble and kept reading the road signs. “Kate’s Born road… that’s weird.” Nope. Kate Bern. Good try, Mary. “Ger’town to the right, Germantown Parkway to the left. Uh, oh. So, is Ger’town a different road. I’m lost.” Okay, Memphis. There needs to be a Public Service Announcement on that one. That was really confusing. And then the street that was something like, “Appleshire” that turned into “Applesauce Street.”
Here’s to not getting lost this week. I’m not sure anyone would be able to come find me if I tell them I’m near Kate’s Born and Applesauce.