Been home for only two days, and I think I'm going to go insane. Football season is here in all its glory, and it's doing a good job of reminding me exactly why I hate living at home in the fall. In fact, I've made it a priority to never, ever be at home again during the fall. That way, Dad and Alex can watch and play and talk about football all they want, and I don't have to suffer through a minute of it. It's not like my company is at all important during football season, nor would it be missed. For example, on the way back from Seattle today after the Husky game, Dad had the post-game radio show on full blast. I asked him a few questions about the game, which he answered. Then I asked him if he was tired, since we had left the house at 5 that morning to get me to work on time at 6. His response was "Kyla, I'm trying to listen to the post-game show. We can talk in a little bit." Fine. So I was silent for a little while, and then the moment I opened my mouth again, he replied, "I haven't had football since last season, I'm hungry for it. Why don't you sleep or something." Great. Glad to see that I'm appreciated around here. I tied a handkerchief around my eyes and did my best to stay out of the way so Dad and his beloved radio show could bond.

Then at home, Alex and three of his friends were watching more football in the theater room in the house. Dad walks in the door, turns the TV in the other room to football, and pulls out food from the fridge, adding it to the piles of food already on the counter. I stop to make myself a quesidilla, which as you probably know consists of two ingredients: cheese and a tortilla. Well, Dad looked at me, looked at the food covering the counter, and said, "hey, can you clean some of this up?"

What am I, a live-in maid? None of that mess was mine. Sheesh. I'm going to Seattle the next chance I get. Next weekend can't come fast enough.

So, on a more positive note. Seattle was wonderful today, with beautiful 90 degree weather. Unfortunately, I spent the entire morning selling parking passes again. I told myself at the end of sophomore year that I wouldn't ever go back to that job, but turns out that traveling in Europe is expensive. Who knew. At any rate, it's a job and it'll earn me some money for the year. After I got off work, I went up to Ashley's apartment and saw Ash, Fletcher, and Andy. I was so happy to see Ashley again! We're all going to be roommates and it will be peachy. We went to the house today to meet the landlord and move in a bit. Rondar came! In a Kermit shirt! It made me happy! As for the house, I hereby declare it fabulous. My room is on the top floor in the back of the house, and has a large closet space for all my junk. Our landlord is also pretty much the coolest landlord ever. So all this makes me very excited to live in the house, and I can start as soon as I want! So, I will... next weekend. Woo! And every day, our house will be host to Naked Disco Happy Hour, and due to the abundance of mini-fridges in the house, we will never, ever be more than 10 steps away from a cold beer. Best. House. Ever.

Settling back into the American way of life is going pretty well. I'm not used to sales tax yet, or the new 10 and 20 dollar bills, or getting carded. (Bought my first 6-pack today in Seattle. What did I get? That's right, Pilsner Urquell.) But things are going well. When I was talking to him on the phone about cultural differences, Jeff pointed out that we can say "Sieg Heil" in the US without repercussions. Thanks, Jeff, for helping me remember the most important differences. But really, it made me laugh really really hard, and made me miss my boyfriend even more than I already had. Come back to Washington, baby!

(Oh, and by the way, we can technically deny the Holocaust in the US without getting thrown in jail, too. So that's another difference.)

One more thing before I go: I found my Arrested Development DVDs!!! They were in the attic among boxes of other things that belong to me. So tonight, I'll probably watch about 10 episodes. Maybe not that many, but I'm sure I'll watch more than I intend to. Joy!!!

Okay, I'm tired of typing. Til next time.


So I'm back in the States. After spending the night in the Stuttgart airport, flying to Frankfurt, going through ridiculous security checks, and then flying 10 hours to Portland, I finally made it off the plane. Dad picked me up in Portland and within minutes, I was whisked away back into a life I haven't seen in a year. My brother's football team plays tonight, so we drove straight to Corvallis. We checked into a hotel, and Dad handed me a Beavers cap and an orange t-shirt. The hotel is right across from the stadium, so the lobby is busteling with proud parents and cocky college kids turned game day officials, in charge of making sure everything runs smoothly. It's a world that I'd almost forgotten about. Something tells me that I don't quite fit in here. Is it because I'm a Husky? Is it the dreadlocks? Is it the jet lag? Or is it simply a stage in my readjustment period, of readjusting to life as an American?

I guess I should leave a little bit of time between touchdown and speculation, but I can't help but offer some quick observations. I'd forgotten what culture shock is like, and reverse culture shock is another flavor of the same thing I went through last fall. Normal culture shock means being surprised by the little things that are done differently, but in reverse culture shock, it's stuff that you are shocked by, and then feel dumb about it because you already knew about it, but had forgotten. So far, it's just been little things: using the US plug-ins again, receiving embarrassed smiles when you catch somebody staring at you, strangers asking "how are you?", unnecessary small talk, dollars instead of euros, having to apologize when you brush by somebody, asking officials questions in English instead of German. Things like that. I can imagine it's going to get worse before it gets better.

Anyway. I've been doing nothing for the past 24 hours but sit, eat, and sleep. I think it's time to go to the hotel gym and work out, and maybe even get some laundry done while I'm here. A month on the road in Europe has not been friendly to my hygiene. Then it's off to the football game, that good old American institution. More on all this later.