Yesterday, I was walking around Walmart and nearly had an anxiety attack. Aisles upon aisles of things people don’t need. Packed with stuff people call on for comfort or convenience, all in a confusing playground of fluorescent light and a mirage of American marketing. The grocery aisles – a black hole of confusion with prepackaged goods boasting ingredient lists just as foreign as the Chinese characters I found myself so confused staring at. When I drove home, I counted passing 7 fast food restaurants and at least a dozen other chain restaurants. The only people I saw out walking had dogs in tow. When I caught the eye of people driving in the cars next to me, they quickly looked away.
America seems foreign country to my heart. So sterile, uncomfortable, and joyless. I miss small stores with the necessities and grocery aisles of little. I miss the sounds of the streets and wandering around the neighborhood. I miss the aromas of mom and pop cooking in their restaurant kitchens, serving up fresh affordable meals. I miss walking everywhere, dodging fresh poop and weaving in and out of Chinese girls walking arm-in-arm. I miss the broken English of “welcome to take my taxi” and watching the city pass by as cab drivers navigated in and out of near disasters to deliver me at a destination. I miss having little to communicate but always feeling so satisfied.