Adventures in The US of A

I got back from my Japan Adventure on April 12th. With only one day off, I went back to work on the 14th at The Dumpling Tzar. Thinking about it now, it sounds ridiculous, but I have aged more in these two-three months being back here, than I did during my two and half years abroad.

I don’t stay awake past midnight, sometimes earlier, anymore. I can’t drink more than about a pint of beer (but I can drink champagne,sangria, and white wine like nobody’s business). I barely see anyone minus my coworkers. I work most weekends, and I’m lucky if I even get more than a couple days off in a row.

I don’t mind this whatsoever, minus the not being able to stay awake till late – but the problem is I don’t have anyone to stay awake with me anymore either. I don’t have the bartender friends I had like in Japan, or before I left for Japan, and I don’t have the time or energy to fix that. Maybe after the summer.

I love that I’ve caught up with many of my friends, been able to attend a few kickass shows, worked at a few festivals, gotten to know my awesome coworkers, attended a baseball game, and what little summer I’ve experienced I’ve adored.

I was chatting with a friend of mine over coffee the other day and we were talking about how whenever we get back to this city we automatically feel at home, relaxed, fall back into whatever routine we had before, pick up where we left off. There’s none of that feeling like starting over, or feeling out of place. I didn’t even need to get “readjusted” back into life in the states. Being back in the PNW automatically put me at ease.

I pride myself for being flexible and laid back and can adapt easily, I think with these qualities I can survive pretty much anywhere, or make whatever work, but Seattle is definitely where I’m in my element. It’s just so easy. And maybe that’s why I get a traveling itch so often – I don’t enjoy easy whatsoever. And a lot of that is just subconsciously. I don’t even notice until after the fact.

It’s incredible to me that so much time has passed since I’ve left Japan – I left at the beginning of April and it’s already the beginning of July. On occasion, I’ll get completely homesick for Japan. I miss my students, and I miss my friends, but overall I don’t reminisce too much about those “Japan Days.”

That said, it’s only been three months.

So I’m back working customer service. In the US. What was I thinking? Mostly, that my bosses are the most excellent I’ve ever had; my coworkers are pretty fantastic; and the food we serve is delicious – especially when you’ve had a few and need something to soak up the alcohol.

And then there’s also the server moments – like the guy (who may or may not be homeless) who comes in and sits for hours talking to the manager or myself or whoever is willing to lend an ear and either doesn’t order anything or only orders a pickle. Everything he says is jumbled, and last time he stood in front of me and watched as I made egg salad and sliced cucumbers and talked to me about the direction his life was going in.

Or the phone call we got yesterday from a woman asking if we found a pair of shoes left in the restaurant the night previous (which just happened to be the 4th). From what I gathered, the woman walked in, ordered food, took off her shoes, and as she was waiting (with her friends maybe) a group of super drunk people wandered into the shop. One of them (a guy) walked up to the counter where the late-night guy was working, announced drunkenly, “I’m single!” And winked. The drunk single guy’s friend, who was a woman, demanded drunkenly, “Whatt’ve you got?” And when the late night guy told her beef or potato dumplings, she said, “I know you’ve got more!” And then proceeded to turn away and take the Lost Shoe Woman’s shoes. Meanwhile, I’m on the phone with this Lost Shoe Woman the next day trying to piece together everything, and having to tell this woman that her shoes are in fact lost to Whatt’ve You Got Woman. Let this be a lesson to all of you out there, when you go to a restaurant keep your shoes on. And remember not to leave without them.

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