Monday, August 23, 2010

Big City Convert

Well, one thing about coming home to Kentucky is realizing how much I have gotten used to living in a big city.  Somehow I vaguely remember how big Louisville seemed to me back in the day, but now I can drive across downtown Louisville in something like 15 minutes.

Yeah.  Not quite the same as living in Cairo, a city of 20 million people...a city that really does NOT sleep (sorry New Yorkers).  Seriously, we have sat in a traffic jam in Cairo at 12 o'clock at night.

Anyhow, so to come home to Kentucky it's like - wow, it is SO quiet here.  And what is with everything closing down so early?!  I mean, doesn't EVERYONE want to go grocery shopping at 10:00 at night?!  And why do restaurants close so early...don't people still want to eat after 9:00 at night?!

We have stayed closer to downtown Louisville the past couple of times we've been here, and I must say that I can definitely feel the difference. Just tonight my son and I were out for a walk after 8:30 PM and there were still other people out walking their dogs.  And I did see another couple out walking with their baby so I didn't feel like such a crazy person taking my 9-month-old out for a stroll as it was getting dark out.

Because seriously sometimes I feel like I need some kind of sign on my forehead reading "I live in Egypt so please forgive me if what I'm doing seems a bit unorthodox."  You always have to wonder if what seems normal to you after living abroad for a number of years may look at little strange to the outside world.  Not that I worry that much about what others think about what I'm doing, because at least in the States I am basically invisible anyways and I just don't really care what they think anyways.  It is usually just a passing thought sometimes that I wonder if people can ever tell that something is different about me...

Probably not.  And besides, how many Americans do YOU know who have the time to stop and pay attention to what is going on around them?  Everybody here is so busy busy that it boggles the mind to think of how much stuff they get done in one day.  I mean, I could only DREAM of going to the store AND meeting friends for lunch AND getting my hair cut AND going shopping for clothes AND going to a soccer game AND...all in one day.

I have learned that in Egypt if I can get just one good thing done in one day that it's a good day.  I'm not saying that my life is any less busy - okay well maybe I AM saying that.  But when you're trying to get around in a city like Cairo, using taxis and getting around just takes more time.  And by the time you get to where you're going, you might as well stay there for a while because it'll take you just as long to get home.

But even though I have adjusted to living in a big city, there are times when I just wish the world would just stand still for a moment so that I can just breathe a bit.  It's not so much that I am moving so fast, it's just that there is so much going on around you.  I mean, there are people everywhere at all times.

So definitely it is nice to be able to take a walk down the street where there is not a soul in sight.  Okay, we are still pretty close to downtown Louisville so there are definitely many more people out than, say, where my parents live.  But still, the trees are bigger and the sidewalks safer and people actually use the crosswalks.  What a relief!

So maybe the big city convert is still a small-town girl at heart after all...

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