I’ve been home for about a month now. It feels like longer. Maybe that’s because home is familiar. A lack of jet lag helped too.
Top things (besides people) I missed about home:
Bagels: good New York bagels
I think New York should be referred to as the Big Bagel instead of the Big Apple. No one eats an apple and says, “ah good ‘ol New York apples.” Do they? Obviously bagels in New York are better than everywhere else. I’ve heard of bagel shops in Florida and other places that ship water from New York because that is one of the theories of why New York bagels are so good. My first meal when I got home was a bagel and cream cheese. It was totally as good as I remembered.
New York tap water is pretty great. True, it’s different depending on where in New York you live, but as far as I can tell it’s all good. In Delaware it was…meh. In Florida it tasted like pool water. In Thailand no one drinks water from the tap, not even the locals. Bottled water is everywhere. You don’t realize how convenient and part of everyday life good tap water is until you don’t have it.
The indifference of people I pass on the street
I will never blend in and be mistaken for a local in Southeast Asia. I am a farang, the Thai term for non-Asian foreigners.
The fact that I was able to hop on a plane and travel to the other side of the world makes me extremely privileged compared to so many other people around the world. However, that doesn’t mean I need or want to buy everything put in front of me.
Just because I’m a farang, does not mean I want to buy something from you. I just need to walk past your shop to get to where I’m going. Asking me 6 times is not going to change my mind.
Just because I’m a farang, does not mean I need a ride from your taxi; no matter how many times you honk at me.
People seem to love saying hi as I pass them in the street. People (especially kids) seem to get a particular joy from talking to the farangs they meet. They break out into huge grins when I respond with a smile and a wave. I’ve made whole busloads of kids smile with 1 wave.
Everyone wants to say hi and know where I’m from. I love meeting new people in new places. Sometimes it’s exhausting though. Sometimes I want to browse silently, without an endless barrage of people trying to sell me things. I want to walk down the street, allowed to blur out my surroundings in favor of a day dream.
In New York no one cares about me walking down the street, unless I’m in their way. I missed that. I missed not standing out. People I pass in the street, in shops, cab drivers, everyone is indifferent to my existence. I like it. In New York no one stands out, because EVERYONE is different.