This time of year marks the memory of that flight to the USA. It's a funny coincidence that the first topic in November's expat revelations series (run by Holly) up about our first days as an expat, which comes as I mark three years as America being home - after landing in Detroit on November 8th, 2011. I wish I could tell you so many details of those first couple of days, of all the things we got up to and the places we went. Yet, so much of it is a blur. Perhaps it's because everything was all so new, it was such a big thing, there was so much to take in that it's all got a little lost in time. That and my memory is typically rubbish.
It's funny. The one thing I do remember, or at least remember the situations is when food was involved. Landing and getting through customs in the middle of the afternoon and with my body still on UK time, my first ever US meal was pizza. I mean, let's set off on the right footing here. It wasn't just any pizza mind, it was a rather well known (at least in these parts) pizza from Green Lantern. It has a bit of a reputation that it's so bad that it's good. I call it death pie because it makes my stomach hate me. It's greesey, but it's good all the same. Time was spent drinking all sorts of Mountain Dew flavors, driving up to the Great Lakes Malls for burgers in Johnny Rockets to sushi in Ann Arbor's Totoro to finding out about the horrors of canned cheese. But I knew from the off I could get use to all this food.
That weekend and we drove into Detroit for my first trip downtown. And to tell you the truth, I didn't really know what to expect.
I'd already seen the burnt out, abandoned buildings, the empty streets those can easily be seen from the freeways. I knew all the news stories, all the option pieces people have of the city, but I like to think i'm open minded. Driving around downtown I just remember thinking ow huge everything is, just how high the buildings reach up. Now remember i'm a country lass and while I've lived in Newcastle and visited London, there's nothing to compare. As we visited Belle Isle, walked along the river front, stepped into the library I could see what the city has to offer, I could see it still had life in it. It's a shame people still write the place off so much.
Those first weeks where not only my first days as an expat but my first of ever being in America. It felt like a holiday and continued to do so for months. There was so much to take in. The difference in the small things that make up life - trying to constantly remember that a dime (10c) is smaller than a nickle (5c), that you have to look the other way crossing the road first, that sales tax isn't included in the price.
Those first couple of days only could show me a glimpse of what America had to offer.