Wednesday, June 6, 2007

culture lag

So after 4 airports and about 36 hours, I finally made it back to the US, and to my new home on Monday evening. Highlights from the trip back included figuring out how to unplug the children's fire engine ride in Helsinki airport (it was next to the bench I was sleeping on, and disturbing me with occasional sirens. there is probably some very traumatized Finnish child out there), sitting next to a very entertaining history buff on the long flight from Frankfurt to Denver with whom I had multiple debates about long-term effects of various wars and the source of ethnic tensions in E.Europe, and finally getting picked up at the bus stop in Boulder by a friend and being taken immediately to the last half of a kick-ball game to be a token girl.

Immigration was entertaining on every end, particularly in leaving the Ukraine. The passport officials wanted to know a.) why it was that I had been to Moldova - apparently tourism was not a believable response - and b.) why my middle name was Kasimira ('because my mother liked it' didn't go over well!?!). But they finally stamped my passport and let me out. Getting into the US was even more fun, but perhaps inappropriate for a public blog...

Between the time changes (9 hours between L'viv and Denver) and crazy flights, jet lag has finally set in, and I find myself bright-eyed at my computer at 5:30 in the morning. And it has finally hit me that what's really keeping my stress levels up is not the jet lag, but rather the culture lag. There are no 13th century buildings in Boulder and gold church domes do not dominate the sky-line. The headlines on the news describe how you could contract lethal bacterial diseases by walking into the hospital and how a bartender dealt with a violent drunk woman in Denver, not the ramifications of the latest bombing in Iraq or the political consequences of Yuschenko's pact with the Ukrainian prime minister. The concrete is used on the roads, not in architecture. The sidewalks are... even... !?! And driving in a car does not feel like sitting in a video arcade racing game. Not that that's a bad thing. But I think it will take me a few days to readjust to the Latin alphabet and the lack of chickens running around.

But as my adrenaline rush from the last month of travel slowly starts to fade, and I start to digest everything that happened in the Ukraine, I'll keep you posted on adventures in Boulder - and with my attempts to recreate the poppy-seed cakes and homemade varenyky I have become completely addicted to...

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