Have I already been back in the US for ten days? How strange, that time seems to be going quickly during my visit here.
My adjustment to Western/US life continues. Sometimes when I am at the store (Target, grocery) with my sister or my mom, I just want to look at all of the products that are available. I also want to get all of the fresh produce into my system that I can. I also got tired of waking up in the middle of the night and being tired pretty much all the time, so I followed a friend’s advice and bought some liquid chlorophyll. She said that drinking it (in water) helps give her energy, among other things, so I decided it could not hurt to do so.
For those of you who don’t know what chlorophyll is – it is the stuff that makes plants green. There are many claims made about its benefits – that it helps wounds heal, that is helps with people who have cancer, that it can help you lose weight. The FDA has not approved any of these claims, but I figured if it could help me through my jet lag, it certainly could not hurt.
When put into a glass, it is dark green – this does not change when you add water to it. However, it does not have much of a taste – my sister tried it and said it tastes “a bit like green tea”.
So I brought my chlorophyll with me on my girls’ weekend. I had been looking forward to this weekend for about a month – the time that I had booked the room and the service. My sister, her niece, my niece, and I all went to the Aveda Institute to have some services done – I had a back and facial treatment, then a haircut. Without going into specifics of the whole day, I’ll say how fabulous it felt, and how I could immediately see the difference in my skin. My hair – well, as usual, it looked great when they did it but I need some seriously powerful moisture for it, and am too lazy to put all the gels and products into it that they use, and use a diffuser, etc. so I got a great cut, but at this exact moment, it does not look as great as when they styled it (when does it ever?).
After a fabulous dinner at a Greek restaurant in Minneapolis, we headed to our hotel and had some bubbly to celebrate any number of things – it being girls’ weekend, my returning from Ukraine, my niece’s graduation…most importantly, being with friends and family. Day two of our girls’ weekend was spent shopping at the Mall of America.
Talk about culture shock. Whoa.
The MoA is overwhelming on a good day – that day, for me, it was ridiculous. Don’t get me wrong – I held it together – but the amount of money that people spend, the variety we have available – ways to spend it – wow.
It was also interesting to hear Russian spoken in one of the stores, and almost instinctively, I turned around to see the speaker – a mother speaking to her teenage daughter. She switched to English. I also heard Icelandic, Spanish, and another language I could not identify. Ah, the multi-cultural MoA.
Today I headed back into the Twin Cities to get shot up. I received a call last week from Peace Corps Medical in DC – the nurse told me I have to get four vaccinations before going to Suriname. FOUR? Yes, she said – Typhoid (apparently my Typhoid vaccine from 2007 needed an update), Yellow Fever, Influenza, and Rabies. And it gets better…the Rabies vaccination is a series, so I get to go back in a week, and then in a month – hooray for modern medicine!
I’m serious in that last part – if I did not get these, and went to a country where these are potential issues, well, I would be an unhappy person. As it is, I am at the moment a rather tired person with sore arms…and I was hoping to get away without any side effects.
And so the adjustment continues. I think I would have even worse culture shock if I was not staying with my parents, who live in a somewhat rural area (I’m okay with this for a short length of time…living here, I would go crazy). The rush of modern day is somewhat slowed here. But there are still many adjustments – some are small and daily, some are larger. It seems I am constantly processing something, though.