Today marks my one-week anniversary back in the U.S. of A. But, my adjustment has been…. slow. To say the least. The day after I returned home my brother asked me to watch him play lacrosse. I left the house and got in the car only to discover…. the steering wheel was in front of the other seat. I continue to make this mistake on a regular basis. I figure this is karma for making fun of all my visitors to Africa who would try to enter the car on the driver’s side and I would ask them, “Are you planning to sit in my lap?” Here I am, yet again, trying to drive while sitting in the passenger’s seat:
Last weekend my dad and I were out running errands and stopped for lunch. The server asked what I wanted to drink.
Kelly: Can I have a Coke Light please?
Server: A what?
Kelly: A Coke Light.
Server: Well, I don’t know what a Coke Light is, but we don’t serve Coke here.
Kelly: (confused, thinks for a minute) You don’t have Coke? What do you have? (At that moment I had no clue there was any soda product besides Coke.)
Server: We serve Pepsi products.
Kelly: Ok, then can I have a Pepsi Lite?
Server: What’s that?
Dad: I think she wants a Diet Pepsi.
Server: Then why didn’t she say that?
The back and forth with the server actually went on much longer, but I won’t bother you by supplying you with the entire transcript of that conversation. I think it will suffice to say she thought I was an idiot and customer service post-soda dialogue was sub-par. By the way, there is NO Pepsi in Africa. Africa is strictly a Coca-Cola continent. Talk about a monopoly. Oh, and in about 2/3 of Africa it is only served in glass bottles, no cans or plastic bottles like in the U.S.
This afternoon I went to the grocery store. I waited in line, the cashier rang up my gallon of milk, and then asked me, “How do you want to pay for this?” I was going through my wallet, which you may remember has about ten different currencies still in it, and was taken aback by the question. Wondering if this was a trick question I said, “Ummm… U.S. dollars?” The cashier and I stared at one another for what felt like an eternity before she finally said, “I mean cash or credit?” Kelly: “Sorry, my bad, here,” as I shoved a five dollar bill in her hand.
There you go. I can say with great confidence it definitely takes more than one week to break (or form) a habit. Let’s just hope I don’t continue to drive on the wrong side of the road for the next two months- it is terrifying when I realize there is someone driving straight at me.