I fully expect that three months from now, I will still be finding wads of toilet paper tucked into forgotten pockets and corners of bags and backpacks. After all, I spent the last fifteen months in a country where the availability of toilet paper was never, ever a given. You need only forget it once to make the lesson stick: always take TP everywhere.
Now that I’m back in the US, I don’t have to, and that is something of a revelation to me. It’s one of the many little things I used to take for granted here but which I must now consciously remember. Other daily revelations:
- I can drink water straight from the tap.
- People will look at me weirdly if I try to shake their hands after stepping on their feet.
- Toilet paper can be flushed down the toilet!
- Most people don’t drink hot water.
- People in public places can actually understand what I’m saying, and I need to moderate myself accordingly.
- YouTube videos do not require half an hour of buffering before I can watch them.
- Peanut butter is not worth its weight in gold here.
- Getting carded for alcohol – problematic when you lost your driver’s license in Mongolia.
- The hot water always works. Heck, the water always works, hot or cold!
- Non-instant coffee is widely available.
- I can talk to friends without first calculating whether it’s the middle of the night where they are.
- Apparently wearing my scarf babushka-style is likely to draw the ire of people who think I’m Muslim.
- People actually follow traffic laws here.
- I can watch major sports events without having to search out a decent internet connection and a (probably illegal) streaming site that actually works.
- Fresh fruit!
More to come as I readjust to life in the first world.