Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Some Fears About Transition Back to the United States

Transitioning from South America to the USA these are some pressing concerns I have:

1. Costs. A liter of beer costs $0.80 here. I don’t want to think how much a 20 oz. bottle of beer costs back home. A gallon of gas in Ecuador- $1.50. No, I don’t have a car so this means nothing to me, but it will at least supply me righteous indignation when I do have a car and pay $4.00.

2. Food. Here, fruits and veggies that are cheap and junk food like KFC and McDonald's that’s expensive. The last time I bought a bushel of bananas in the United States- it didn’t cost $0.20. Prices are going to kill me!

3. English. The other day a crazed dog attempted to attack me. This is the second time in Latin America I have had to get physical when a dog attacks I might add. I was proud of myself when I began shouting Spanish obscenities at the pinche perro! It will be weird to speak English all the time and not have to worry if I am using the right “for”- an incredibly pressing concern in my day to day life here in Ecuador. Or, what happens that first time someone upsets me and I mumble something to the effect of “you’re such an idiot and I hope your store closes down” forgetting that everyone around me speaks English now too. Ooops.

4. Busses. Call me crazy, but I’ve taken rather fondly to the challenge of boarding and getting off busses. It slows down to about 5 MPH and you grab the sidebar, hop and pray for a successful landing INSIDE the bus. Getting off, it’s much the same. The bus slows down, you survey the ground to make sure there are no obstacles such as potholes, and you jump/run cartoon style off the bus. Also, bus fare is $0.25 and they will even give you change for a $20 should you need it. I realize about 99% of my readership has never taken public transpo in LA so they have no idea just how incredibly cool it is to get change on a bus fare, nor do you realize how affordable $0.25 is!

5. Celebrity status. If I return to LA, I’ll simply just be another one in twelve million. My life here is the closest I will get to being a celebrity. Everywhere I go on the C.M.T. campus, children shout my name, wave excitedly, and sprint from all directions to jump in my arms and hug me and ask me to throw them playfully in the air. I’ve even perfected a wave any red carpet walker would be envious of. All that ends, and I am back to average Joe status. Plus, let's face it. Here, I hug any kid I want. If I try and do that in the United States, I'll be that weird guy.

6. Pay. The other day I jokingly told Madre Miguel I felt underpaid. She responded that if I felt that way, she’d double my salary. Before you get too excited, remember I make $0. You do the math of what that is doubled. 0X2= I hope you can do this better than two of my students who tried the other day. Alex Rodriguez, star of the New York Yankees, made more money than the 33 man roster of the Florida Marlins- at least before the H. Ramirez deal. There is really no relevance between my pay and that of A-Rod other than it is a cool stat to spout out to whoever will listen and it does make me sick.

7. Speaking of Nicknames, A-Rod is cool but I think I’ve managed to one up even that. Everywhere I have been in South America, my name, Patrick is most commonly translated not to Patricio but to Pato, coincidentally the Spanish word for duck. As much as I hated it at first, I have grown rather fond of Pato and will have an incredibly difficult time not necessarily returning to Patrick, but returning to the most commonly used name, that which I loathe the most: Pat. Why do I hate Pat? Three words: Saturday Night Live. So cut a man a break: Patrick, Furlong, Pato, Patricio, even duck if you must, just no more Pat!

Who would have ever thought going back home after two years who be more difficult than leaving home in the first place? And yet, so as to not be totally depressing, I am excited about some really good things. I am really fired up about my new job with an organization called City Year, a job which I start immediately upon return. I am excited to have baseball replace soccer, a micro-brew replace a Pilsener. I’m excited to watch Scrubs season eight, sit on the beach, and run 10k’s at something less than 9,000 feet above sea level. And of course to see friends and family! So in a round about way, I’m so nervous, and so excited, and so confused as to why A Rod makes more than all the Marlins combined and doubling my salary still leaves me with a net income of zero.


Anonymous said...

You are such a nut; I'm going to miss your blog. However, your dad and I are very glad you are coming back to the States. I'm not sure if you are aware of this but Kelly moves approx. once a year. Your dad and I moved her back to Chicago this past weekend. Unfortunately, Ed was out of town and couldn't help. Ed and Kelly decided that as a stepbrother you have some work ahead of you. Kelly is going to call you first next time she has to move :~}

Anonymous said...

With that repetoire of nicknames, my personal favorite has always been PJ.