adjusting back in north carolinaArles, Summer 2009

I've been back in the United States for three days now, and am still in that weird state between wanting to jump on a plane back to the south of France and reveling in the abundance of BLTs and American television here at home. I thought the differences between the lifestyle I had been living in Arles and the American way of life to be almost overpowering, but the adjustment has been much easier than I was expecting. There are just a few things that I am still getting used to... For one, I had forgotten how much louder everything is at home. The music on the radio in the car is always blaring, the TV is turned up to drown out the noisy vacuum upstairs, and even conversations take place at what seems like an unnecessary volume. It's surprising that I am the one to comment on this, since I am normally one of the primary contributors to the constant noise I've noticed upon coming home. I guess I can say that one thing I learned while in France is that I really don't have to shout to be heard. Another adjustment I am still making is the change in the speed of life back at home. I always though things were pretty slow-paced in North Carolina, but that was before I lived in Provence for six weeks. It seems like people are always running in and out of the front door, speeding down the road to get places on time, or rushing through dinner in order to move on to the next activity. I can say I mind it really; the change in pace has been a good thing. The relaxed tempo of Provence felt like a vacation, and the hustle of life here is like coming back to reality. Of course there are more adjustments to be made, but for the most part, I feel like I am fitting nicely back into the space I left behind upon heading off to France. Only now I can talk loudly in French while rushing all over the place, and hopefully I have gained a little perspective.
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