September 24, 2010

Ready to run and two reasons to stay

Last night I googled "Teaching English Abroad".

Feeling the return of flight risk, I browsed teaching positions in Korea, China and Croatia. I tried to remember the gut feeling I got from selecting "Cambodia" from drop-down menus, but I couldn't find it.

Unable to feel real excitement (or blind trust) this time, I shut Baby Top and turned off the light.

This morning, I was determined to see America with fresh eyes. Here are my two things I love about living in Lincoln.

1. Driving my own car. Having reliable transportation at any hour is freedom. In Nebraska, parking is rarely an issue (except Husker game day...don't get me started). My Mitsubishi is more convenient than the Strassenbahn in Austria, less crowded than the JR train in Tokyo, and infinitely safer than the motos of Phnom Penh.

2. Grocery stores. American grocery stores should be the model for the world. First, a giant cart to load with food for the next week, month or year. Second, thousands of food choices displayed on pristine shelves. Third, and most importantly, checkstands big enough to hold $500 in Doritos, and someone getting paid to put my groceries into Earth-destroying plastic bags. Austria had a good selection of goods, but the checkstands were built for a maximum of four items, and the poor guy who forgets his own shopping bag will be tarred and feathered on the spot. Obviously I have rich memories from study abroad. Japan's stores are similar to Austria, except everything is written in impossible Japanese. What am I getting here? Is this fish or chocolate? Cambodia has Lucky Supermarket, but that's so boring. Let's talk about the markets: claustrophobes, beware. No pristine shelving here--just buckets of fruit, tables of veggies, stacks of fresh meat slabs, and live eel in a tub. Although I constantly worrying about stepping on chickens or low-hanging meat shanks, I never once worried about a shopping bag.

For now, I'm living in Lincoln. I love my car and my groceries. I can't guaruntee that my wandering days are over; in fact, I think they are just beginning, but I'll enjoy home while I've got it.