i.e. First World Culture Shock and Readjusting to Life in the US
Four weeks ago, I was delighted to find a small selection of natural bar soaps in a natural foods store in Colombia. They even had quinoa. It was wild. Now here I am in Denver, having just been standing in the natural soap aisle at Whole Foods, totally overwhelmed by all of the options. I could close my eyes, stick out my arm and plow a whole shelf of bar soap into my cart — Supermarket Sweep style — and not have to worry about the ingredients of any of those things. Instead, I stood there just kind of gawking at the spectacle.
The super-friendly apron-sporting staff person looked a little concerned and asked me if I needed help finding anything.
“Nope!” I said.
“I’m just looking!” I said.
There were so many kinds of floss and other tooth-cleaning gadgets — all made from fair-trade, organic, shade-grown, vegan, flouride-free, chemical-free, cruelty-free, plastic-free sources. I guess a person is not supposed to stand there with their head cocked and mouth hanging open? Judging by the look the super-friendly-but-increasingly-concerned staff person was giving me, no, a person is not supposed to do that. Thank goodness Mike had already moved on to navigate the bulk quinoa section. This way he wouldn’t witness this spectacle I was making of myself and also, he’d had a head start on figuring out which of the 9 varieties would suit our needs.
When we checked out, not only were our reusable shopping bags a complete non-issue, we were given the option to keep or donate our bag credits to a charity. Um, life is pretty good here.
Some other awesome perks:
- OMG FRIENDS! We have friends! And they hang out with us!
- And THERE IS A VEGAN MINI MARKET DOWN THE STREET FROM OUR HOUSE. What is this madness??
- Potable tap water. We don’t have to keep our mouths sealed shut while in the shower and we can drink water straight out of the tap! Crazy!
- All prices are in USD! No more currency conversions before buying! Downside… all prices are USD. That means the $12 tapas plate is actually $12 and I’m going to have to choose 2 in order to be well-fed.
- Cars stop at stop signs and red lights. OMG!
- Food can be delivered to your door. Get this… you can place an order for food online, pay online, and then a person shows up at your house and hands you food. I know this isn’t news to you, but holy crap it’s still awesome!
- Capitol Hill doesn’t feel like a hill. Despite being at altitude, we’ve got no problems climbing “hills” in downtown Denver. This place is flaaaaat.
- You can touch a button on your smartphone and have a neighbor show up at your house in 2 minutes to drive you somewhere. Then touch another button to pay them. Yes! (aka Lyft)
- We can walk to several craft breweries but we don’t have to because we have BIKES annnnnd bike LANES!
So, clearly, I’m pretty stoked about the amenities that come along with being in Denver. I mean, sometimes, I get overwhelmed by all of the choices and some I get anxious about having so much stuff in my closet… even though it’s only our minuscule wardrobes, a box of back taxes, a box of camping gear, a sewing machine, and a small box of memorabilia. It’s way more than what fits in our backpacks and we’ll have to do something with it the next time we head out. Aaah! it’s soooo much stuff. okay breathe…