There are many things that surprised me this time around.
Position of the light switch: For one, returning to the US, I didn’t realize how high the light switches are. I keep fumbling around lower, fingers searching for the switch, only to enter the room and find it a good 10 inches higher. I suppose Americans are just plain taller than the French!
Food portions: No wonder Americans struggle with their weight. OH MY GOODNESS! The portions at restaurants are simply amazingly large. I’ve often looked at the waiter with a look of incredulity like, Um, you think I can eat all this? And since we’re transient, we can’t always bring home a doggie bag, so the food goes to waste. There’s a book out there that’s called something like Why French Women Aren’t Fat. Want the simplified answer? They eat smaller portions.
Heat: Why oh why does Texas have to be so dang hot? Over a 100 ever since we’ve been here. Wow. But, if you want to know the truth–I LOVE it! Yesterday, my hands and feet were COLD because of the air conditioning. When I went outside, I smiled. No more coldness. I think I was made for the heat!
Stuff: There is so much stuff here. Stores galore. To be honest, I didn’t know how to handle Target when I went there briefly. The sheer volume of choices is overwhelming. I wonder if there is a subtle stress all Americans feel (that we’ve gotten used to) when we walk into a store. All those choices make me dizzy. (Now don’t mind me, I’m off to go shopping today…)
Kindness: I bumbled my order at dear old Chik-fil-A. I waited for a scornful, disdainful look from the lady behind the counter (that’s how it is in France). Instead she blurted out, “It has been my pleasure to serve you today.” I nearly cried. Nearly jumped over the counter and kissed her on each cheek, French style. I love, love, love the kindness and courtesy of Americans. I believe we’re some of the most friendly people on earth. Oh how I miss the sweetness of customer service.