Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Back in Los Angeles living it up at Dodger Stadium.  So good to be back.  Great game by the Dodgers with some excitement at the end, finishing up with a win in 10 innings.  It was my first time being at a game with Yasiel Puig playing, and the atmosphere was electric when he was up to bat.  The video below shows how hyped up everyone gets and then the disappointment of him popping out.  Great vibes, great times out with the boys and great baseball!  It's good to be back in America!

Reverse Culture Shock

I'm back in the US after almost 500 days of bouncing around the world.  Quite the adventure traveling, living and working out there in the world.  But it's time to get back to the roots and enjoy the homeland once again.  I've got a two month trip sorted out in the US going from the West Coast to the Midwest to the Northeast to the South.  Seeing friends and family all over.  After that, we'll see about settling down. 

People always talk about how crazy it can be in the world and how different it is, as they experience culture shock in another country.  Let me tell you, it's just as tricky coming back to your home country as leaving it.  You notice all the little things, and feel more like a foreigner at the start. Here are a few things that've jumped out at me so far:

Tipping.  That's right I forgot about tipping until my friend put cash on the table.  The rest of the world doesn't really tip unless the service was outright amazing.  I'm out of practice and didn't even think about it.  Dollar bills flying out of my pocket now!

Driving on the right.  Coming from Australia and New Zealand, where I've been the last 6+ months, I got quite used to being on the left side of the road.  I drove a couple times, and rode a bike almost every day.  It started to feel quite normal.  Now I have to switch the brain back over and remember to look left first.  Still a challenge, but I'm getting better and haven't been hit yet!

Different words.  Such as "connecting passengers" instead of "transferring passengers" at the airport.  Numerous people were confused on the flight from NZ with where to go to get to their next flight.  Just one different word throws it all off.  Most of the world uses transfer/transit for passengers who are just passing through an airport.  I spent 19 hours over two visits to the Istanbul airport as a transit passenger (happy memories sleeping on the floor).

Taxes.  Most of the world has the taxes already included in the price.  Here you pay extra.  Those $1.25 tacos aren't quite the even number they appear to be.  But at least they are authentic Mexican and still cheap.

Venice Beach

Spent the day exploring one of the best parts of the LA beach life; Venice Beach.  Busy no matter what day of the week, it was popping with activity and people.  Lots of fun to check out the scene, soak up some sun and get into the water.  Coming from winter in Australia, it was perfect.  Living the good life here in LA!

Basketball with palm trees and the ocean, can't go wrong with that

More good street art in Venice

Houses shut down?  Paint 'em up!
Venice Skatepark

One of the best settings out there

Bit of the Santa Monica mountains in the background

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Pop up gardens

Not only is Melbourne filled with street art popping up overnight and pop up cafes & shops, there is also a pop up garden.  Right in the heart of the city, on top of a parking garage, the garden is tended by individuals, restaurants and who knows.  It's got great skyline views, a little cafe open on the weekends and lots of tasty looking veggies.  One of the best uses of wide open concrete out there.  Come down and sign up for a box!

Notes on living abroad

I live for the changes in culture, the accents, the thrill of something new, an adventurous lifestyle and a life where you don't think about work.  Then there's always the little things that are different from wherever you come from.  Sometimes you notice it right away from the call to prayer at an early hour in a Muslim country, or driving on the other side of the road.  The brain easily adjusts to this as you travel.

Other times it takes a while for you to recognize.  I've been out in the world so often, that the fact that the rest of the world uses the date format as dd/mm/yy seems normal to me.  Putting the day before the month does in fact make sense and goes on the list of things the US should adopt to make life easier (along with the metric system and Celsius).  When I see the date 12/07/14, I think of the 12th of July.  That's become normal in the last year plus of travels.  Yesterday I received an email from one of my frequent flier accounts and it took me a while to realize that the expiry of the miles was not June 12th of next year, it was December 6th.  Just got an extra 6 months on what I originally thought, which is nice, but proves that the brain has adapted to the international lifestyle and that is what comes to mind first.  Going to be a bit of an adjustment living back in the US.

Regarding driving on the other side of the road, I've been in Australia for 6 months and I ride my bike everyday.  It seems perfectly normal to drive on the left, and I'm not even tempted to go on the right.  About a month ago, I was watching a Hollywood movie and when they got in a car and drove on the right, it didn't seem correct.  Something was off.  My brain now thinks driving on the left is the norm, another thing I'll get used to being back in the US. 

I'm getting super pumped up for the return to the US.  Lots of amazing people to see, places to visit and an American life to be lived.  After traveling and hearing from others how great the US is, and where they went on their big trips over to the US, it's my time to live it up.  Looking forward to seeing everyone, eating Mexican, catching a few baseball games and turning 30 with the family in Boston.  Fun times ahead!
The two Peacocks in Melboure