Saturday, January 13, 2007

From international metropolis to in the middle of the Midwest

White Castle, down the street. Photo from Wing Young Huie's Lake Street USA project.
May Day 2000. Can you spot me??
On the 21 bus. Photo from Wing Young Huie's Lake Street USA project.
Mon quartier.
Anodyne, down the street.

Shockingly, impossibly, I suddenly find myself once again in my hometown of Minneapolis, and obviously also in my greater homeland, the US. Home, home... the definition blurs when you adopt a new one. In the short time I've been back, everything is somehow familiar and foreign at the same time, like in a dream where you know it's your house but the appearance is warped and alien. Perhaps I exaggerate a bit, but anyone who's gone through a similar cultural shock can understand. As certain storefronts have changed, moved, or been somehow otherwise altered, it lends the landscape a very confused feel to my mind... "ok, this I recognize, that I recognize-- hey, what the hell is that doing there?!"

But overall, compared to the bustle and clamor of Paris, it's almost as if I'm half-expecting a tumbleweed to float dreamily down my street. It feels unnatural to call and order a pizza, let alone in my native tongue. I have to consciously stop myself from using my automatic "bonjour/merci/au revoir." I have developed a schizophrenic Franglish inner monologue. Spaciousness is also a major change.

Readjustment will certainly take some time.

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