So instead of posting from New York, I ended up letting my blog take a little vinterferie of its own. After 17 months away from home, it was both weird and wonderful to be back. I could have done without the seemingly unstoppable blankets of snow falling from the sky, and the bone-chilling temperatures--honestly, as I sit here in the Iceland airport writing this, the weather seems sweltering in comparison!--but the slice of home was a long time coming.
My siblings are all fun-size grownups now, and while I love them each to pieces, I would not want to stand on the other side of the net from any of them on a tennis court. (Also, it was mildly unnerving to realize my 16-year-old brother is now taller than I am, with the 12-year-old Super Sib not too far behind...) It is always weird to "go back" once you have gotten used to living on your own. Because I'm one of those people who never bothered or cared to obtain a driver's license, I become almost completely dependent on my parents for the transportation virtually necessary to get around suburban New York. In a way, though, it is amazing to feel exactly the same as I did when I was 15: sitting in the front seat of the family "truck" listening to Car Talk with my dad (or suffering through the current incoherent Top 40 hits on Z100 if my sister's at the controls); making Sunkist deliveries to my mom, feeding her orange soda addiction; engaging in spirited, juvenile verbal battles--and subsequent girly makeups--with my sister; going to Starbucks with my brothers; all of that stuff was so identical, it's like stepping into a time machine.
The vacation wasn't perfect, and it wasn't always relaxing. (Also, it was absolutely FREEZING.) But it was wonderful, in its own wacky way. I remembered so many things I loved about America. Mike & Mike in the Morning, on ESPN. The tacky awesomeness of the New York Post (and my love of newspaper crossword puzzles). The gruff, unique friendliness of New Yorkers; not always apparent, yet in moments of united excitement--for instance, the day before the big Jets-Steelers game--obvious, and awesome. Being in a city that is constantly awake and huge and alive. Big, multi-level American shopping malls and grocery stores and wholesale clubs. Starbucks, and its new 31oz. cold drink cup size. Non-stop viewing of Grand Slam tennis, at least in my household. Getting carded at a bar for the first time in my life, very exciting. Barnes & Noble, the Gap, CVS, Stop & Shop. Tombstone pizza, "real" peanut butter, garlic knots, Trader Joe's beer. The tabloid magazines, football that isn't soccer, car dealerships, Netflix. Going to the movies with my sister and finding our own, unassigned seats. Taking a walk to get ice cream with my brother and having to cross an amazingly busy intersection. Converse sneakers that don't cost the equivalent of $100. 24-hour diners, and the messy subways, and the incomparable people-watching.
I could go on, but I won't. I was happy to visit home, but also happily surprised to realize that I cannot wait to be back in Copenhagen, to go back to work and see my friends. For now, though, I wait in Iceland, where it is pitch black at 9:15am, 4:15am in my head, eerily quiet, and not a sign of Bjork yet...
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