It's hard to believe we've been in the States for over a week and a half. Time really seems to pass more quickly here. No wonder in our previous life we always felt so rushed and stressed.
After seven months away I returned with no preconceived notions of what to expect other than satisfying a pent-up desire to consume some of the foods unavailable to us in Ecuador. Funny thing about that--after enjoying Popeye's fried chicken, a "Blimpie's Best" sandwich, a big old messy bacon cheeseburger, some Mexican food, I realized that my anticipation overshadowed the actual experience. It wasn't that I was disappointed--I loved every bite of all of it--but in the end, that burrito was just another of the 60,000+ meals I've consumed over my lifetime.
The sheer size of this country is something you take for granted until you're away from it. Where we live we can walk to most everywhere we need to go in 20 minutes tops. Hoboken, NJ, where our trip started, is also a pedestrian-friendly town, but if you need to go into Manhattan, it's 20 minutes to get to the train to get to the subway to get to-------. And here in Atlanta folks walk their dogs or for fitness; otherwise you drive everywhere.
That's the reason we left this city, my hometown, in the first place. We realized we were spending more time driving from A to B and back than we were doing whatever it was we were doing at B. All that time behind the wheel just wasn't an acceptable way to spend our precious waking hours.
As I'm writing this I'm realizing how important that original decision has turned out to be since years later we've taken it to the extreme of not even owning a car anymore. Or wanting to.
Experiencing seasons again has been a novelty. Pictures I posted recently showed springtime in Cuenca, but even though the flora acted differently with the beautiful blooming the temperatures don't really vary all that much. So it was an unexpected thrill to see a lot of late autumn foliage still on the trees in New York City.
And the cold weather was fun too---for about the first hour. I'm certain that several weeks of coats and hats will be more than sufficient. Since we have no heating or air conditioning at home it's generally warm outside and cool inside. Feels odd for it be just the opposite; we miss needing to jump under the covers and snuggle to get warm at night.
Today has been "vacation from our vacation" day. After a luxuriously slow and lazy start we're off to indulge ourselves with chili dogs and onion rings at the Varsity (insider Atlanta food reference), a current movie without subtitles, and a trip to Target. Yes, I'm driving again (a big pimp-daddy Chrysler 300) and actually enjoying the experience since we're in absolutely no hurry to get anywhere.
So far, like the old John Denver song (there couldn't be a new one, could there? He's dead.), "Hey, it's good to be back home again."