Life, Travel, USA

US checklist

I head back to Jordan on Tuesday after a pretty amazing three weeks in the US. Coming back to America less than two weeks after the election, I really didn’t know what climate we’d be walking into – in New York, in the south, and places in between. It was eye-opening for both of us, and Layth is much better at having civilized, reasonable political discussions with people who he disagrees with than I am. But more on that later.

We finally made it official by having a wedding party in Louisiana, and I was overwhelmed with how generous and welcoming my family was toward both of us.

In list form, here’s everything else we got to do:

Shop. Pretty much everyday. I never used to understand tourists who came to the US with empty suitcases, hit the mall, and go home with them full, but now I’m one of them. Stuff is so cheap here.
Walk a lot. Especially in New York City – my fitness tracker keeps congratulating me on how much I’m walking.
Laugh with my best girls during the wedding.
Had BBQs and campfires with my family in Louisiana.
Eat fried green tomatoes.
Explore old San Juan in Puerto Rico.
Eat ice cream while walking on the beach, wearing shorts, in December.
Eat all kinds of amazing food at restaurants in San Juan.
Drive. I missed driving in America so much.
Hike through caves in Puerto Rico.
Stay at a resort on the Caribbean, sit by the pool reading all day.
Sleep in our rental car when we were too cheap to get a hotel the last night.
Go visit another of my best girls in Rochester.
Have my first experience doing public speaking on my work.
Getting my nails done.
Trader Joes: Pumpkin spice coffee, mochi ice cream, alcoholic root beer – oh yes.
Nordstrom Rack.
Marshall’s and TJ Max are Layth’s favorite stores now. And after 10 days in America he was eating bagels everyday and humming Christmas songs to himself.
Get dressed up to go eat buffalo wings and drink fancy cocktails.
Online shopping.
Eye doctor for contacts. Eye doctors are highway robbery here, but I ordered my contacts online last night and they arrived this morning. Amazing.
Get my hair done.
Get flannel sheets, blankets, bathrobes, sweaters – all the things to try and stay warm in Amman this winter.
Oh – and I bought an electric violin and some effects pedals to get back into playing music again. More on that to come, I hope.

I think I’m all stocked up for another year or so in the Middle East. Now to figure out a way to bottle up all these laughs and memories to take it back with me. For now, I’ll keep staring at this beach photo.

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