I’m A Stranger Here Myself
My more literary readers will recognize the title of this post as stolen (shamelessly, as usual) from Bill Bryson’s 1998 collection of essays evaluating life in the United States – the country of his childhood and birth – after twenty years in the UK. My less literate readers will be wondering what they did to deserve being lumped into that category.
Bryson had been away for twenty years and, besides, he’d spent twenty-six more living in the United States before his absconsion to Britain. I’ve only been away for six months, and I’d only spent two decades in the States before leaving, but the fact remains: I was there, and now I’m here. Home.
I’ve written a little bit already about the benefits of studying abroad (really, of living abroad), as I see them. Now that I’m back in the States, albeit briefly, let me say that I stand by everything I wrote tenfold. Coming back to the U.S. has shown me at once how much I’ve missed it – its bigness, its brashness, and its beauty – and how much better I’ve come to understand it. I’m going to wait a little bit more before trying to write about the specifics of that change (the thoughts need some time to simmer), but I’m sure I’ll get to it – perhaps as a post at the beginning of next year.
Life for the next two weeks will be very quiet, before I myself abscond to Florence, and from there north to Prague, Riga, and Vilnius. (Here’s where my geographically inclined readers separate themselves from the pack.) I’ll be doing a little work at Tenth Dems for the next few days, of course, will drop by to visit old teachers and old friends, and will settle in tomorrow at 12:35 CDT to watch the Cubs take on (and beat!) the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates on Opening Day. Oh, and I’m planning on winning my March Madness bracket as well.
That’s all to say that I’m having – and will continue to have – an exceptionally restful few weeks at home before returning to Europe – and the attendant exams – in April. It’s been an exciting spring, future Clarkies, and soon we’ll see what the summer has in store.