Saturday, August 18, 2012


I am safely back at home in Fort Wayne now.  I landed right on time with no delays last evening.  That was at 8 PM; I was passed out by 9:30.  I'd like to write about some of my initial impressions coming back to the United States.  I started this post yesterday while I was traveling, though, so it kind of counts for both yesterday and today.

Title: A Very Long Day

As I write this, I am laid over in Chicago after an eight-and-a-half hour flight across the Atlantic and Canada.  It feels like it's about midnight, except it's only 5 o'clock here.  I'd really like to go to sleep, but I also need to reset my biological clock.  Hopefully, writing this blog post will help keep me awake.

First thoughts coming back into the U.S.:

1: I can understand 99% of what everyone around me is saying, mostly notably, side conversations.
2: I am cold, and it's because I'm inside.  Air conditioning in public buildings is back.  I'm really not a fan of A/C right now.
3: All signs here are in English.  It's strange to see the words "Men" and "Women" on the restroom doors again.  Additionally, although I appreciate other countries putting English descriptions on their signs along with their own language(s), now the signs seem so bare and simple.  We just don't think about putting other languages on our signs most of the time.  It makes me think we as a country may consider adding Spanish to more airport signage, if not other languages!  This just seems standard procedure for so many other countries.

After having spent a day here now, I'd like to add a couple things:

  1. Americans in general seem more friendly to me than Poles.  I know the language barrier may be an issue, but take this example: In Poland, while we would run, hardly anyone else on our running paths would smile or make eye contact if I tried to initiate this interaction.  When I ran here this morning, all but one person I encountered initiated greeting or responded, at the very least with a friendly gesture.  Not one of these people was someone I knew.  Also, I noticed more smiling, more laughing, and even more playfulness among the employees at the airport in Chicago than among those employees in Europe or any service personnel I encountered in Poland (except maybe at the Tourist Info center).  Maybe they just get anxious talking to non-Polish speakers?  Anyway, continue to be happy and friendly, fellow Americans!  It's something we can be proud of.
  2. When I woke up this morning, I was overwhelmed by quiet.  There was no sound!  I found that I longed for the sounds of the city and the hejnal hourly trumpet call.
  3. I still don't like air conditioning.  I shivered my entire way through the grocery store today.
I've left my heart in Krakow.

I'm going to need God's strength to get through these next seven weeks.  But at least I've got a start. :-)


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