Friday, August 19, 2011

We're Comin' to America

When we left off we were three days out from our trip to Florida. What I neglected to mention, I had pneumonia. How exactly does one get pneumonia in Africa in July? Especially when I can't think of any other person who was sick at the time I could have gotten it from. Weird. I finished my last mega dose of antibiotics the day before we left, though I was still exhausted and hacking up ginormous phlegm balls. But no matter, we had a plane to Florida to catch.

I wish I could tell you a rousing story of our getting on the plane and how it was so meaningful to leave Morocco right before Ramadan blah, blah, blah. But the truth is I don't remember it. My memory of the trip begins when we got on our Air France flight from Paris to Orlando. You see, this is when things start to change. This is when we all see that there are tvs in every seat back for our 9 hour flight. Did I mention we don't travel with psps or portable dvds because we don't have psps or portable dvds? Bless me father, for I have sinned. It's been at least 22 years since my last confession. Before I rattle off my long list of sins I'd like to take this moment to thank you for tvs in airplane seat backs. Without them I'm sure there would be at least 5more sins on my list...yada, yada, yada. Amen.

I have to say this Air France flight totally changed my perception of the French. I'm sure you've heard that they are cold, snobby and aloof. But I am here to tell you that cold, snobby and aloof people do not put tv monitors in coach and they also don't deliver a delicious bottle of red and a bottle of liquor right on your tray in coach. RIGHT ON THE TRAY I said! Right after they deliver my tray the flight attendant serves up the kids trays also with wine and liquor on it. Cha ching! Either they'll sleep really well or I'll have 4 extra bottles of a fabulous French red. Either way it's a win-win. Who am I kidding? I would never waste a bottle of red on my kids, that's what benedryl is for. Then before I can snag them, the one who giveth taketh awayeth. Damn it! Forget everything I said about the French they are pretentious snobs.

So after a long flight where the kids watched movies until they're eyeballs were seared pink and I coughed for last two consecutive hours, we finally arrived in Orlando. When we got to immigration and I was still coughing the agent integrated me to see if I had tb or some other rare African disease before finally stamping my passport. Now finally we're in the USA. I've been waiting to be enveloped by the sweet sounds of English. Unfortunately, no one in Florida actually speaks English. Everyone knows that the official language of Florida is Spanglish.

Despu├ęs tenemos el coche de alquiler (after we got the rental car), we drove to Craig's mom's house. The kids saw grandma, their aunts, uncles and cousins for the first time in a year and a half. This begins the first night of many where we stay up late partying. Okay, many really means every night. The next morning we were all up at 5:00am. My kids don't sleep in. They are the kids you don't want to have at a sleepover. Considering it's 9:00am Morocco time and the kids are usually awake up at 6:00am, I guess that's not too bad. But what the hell do you do that early in the morning?

You go to Target.


Thank god we went at the butt crack of dawn because the only thing more overwhelming than shopping at Target would have been shopping at a busy Target. And there was so much stuff arranged so neatly and displayed in such a luxuriously hygienic environment it was total sensory overload. Ember was running with the cart doing 360s and wheelies just because she could. I mean there was all that empty space after all. The shopping was so daunting, I'm glad we have a mission. The first priority is to get the kids clothes and shoes to wear to their uncle's wedding later in the week. My kids like any other kid, hate shopping. But because they haven't been forced to shop since we left the states this is well actually fun for them and they go to the dressing rooms without whining. I wish I had a cheesy music video of them trying on clothes you know 90's style like in Pretty Woman. But that would be weird. But I could play it for their prom dates and embarrass them. And I'd like that.

After the clothes shopping is done we go check out some other things...

like crackers and granola bars. Did you hear me? Crackers AND granola bars people!!!

And did you know Target sells wine? Did you? They even have these cute little boxed wines. And they have a Malbec. And they are actually good. I felt like I should taste test them for you to spare you any pain and suffering a boxed wine can cause. Please note that if you live in Colorado, Target still doesn't sell wine in any store other than a liquor store. My condolences to all of you that this ridiculously archaic law affects.

And of all the kooky things you can buy in America, did you know that you can buy fake toenails? Yes. Really. I will not road test fake toenails or fake fingernails for that matter. And painting my nails? I'm not into that either. I did get my first (and probably last) mani/pedi this trip. Maybe I'm just paranoid, but I totally got the impression that the nail techs were discussing the disgusting state of my feet in Korean. And I'd rather have disgusting feet than be the subject of salon banter I can't understand. On second thought, it's probably better that way.

After all was said and done our cart contained:

1 camera for Jade (purchased with money grandpa sent her for her birthday).
Pants for the boys for the wedding.
Shirts for the boys for the wedding.
Belts for the boys for the wedding.
Shoes for the boys for the wedding.
Black socks for the boys for the wedding.
Socks and underwear for all the kids.
Skirts and shirts for the girls for school.
Shorts and shirts for the boys for school.
Lots O' Printer cartridges. (Which now means we can't use the convenient excuse of we have no ink so you can't print out that frivolous color photo of Big Foot. Damn it.)
Two boxes o' wine.
Blueberries, strawberries and blackberries.
Workout outfit for me that is so soft I might never take it off. And that would be totally stanky and gross in America, but perfectly acceptable in Africa.

And then we go to the cashier who is so frickin' chipper at this ridiculously early hour I'm sure she's on prozac or she had a super big gulp size coffee this morning. Probably both. In two minutes or less she tells us her whole life story and comments on our sunscreen purchase. She doesn't wear sunscreen herself, it's all a scam by the sunscreen companies she says. This improbable, unnatural, over the top artificial happiness mixed with corporate skepticism is just so American. I haven't missed it and I've never been more desperate to get out of Target.

But first, the grand total of our maiden shopping voyage.


SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS! Are you kidding me? This is just day one people! We haven't gotten: new sneakers, school supplies, pajamas, books, watches for my middle school boys who need to keep track of time but probably won't, an mp3 player for Sky because the post office declined shipment of the one we ordered him for Christmas, glasses for River and reading glasses for me.

Maybe this is all a dream or some crazy pneumonia induced coughing fit hallucination. But then why am I coughing wearing this super comfy workout outfit while drinking a smooth boxed Malbec while the kids are outside skateboarding in grandma's cul de sac drenched in sweat with beads of sunscreen rolling off that sweat. Maybe the cashier was right. Sunscreen doesn't actually work in Florida because you can't help but sweat it off. Now where can I get some prozac and a drum-sized coffee?


Roy A. said...

Not trying to duplicate- but I think Blogger is being normal- cantankerous as hell (like your stewardess who took back the wine...)

First- sorry you developed pneumonia. Thrilled you recovered to make the flight.
Secondly- go to real America- that means no FL, AZ, or TX and enjoy it.
Finally- we are so glad you are writing again. How else do my smile lines stay in place?

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear you were so sick but so glad to see a new post from you - totally missed you! It's ridiculously easy to spend way too much money in a Target (or Walmart, or Zellers, if you're Canadian)...but hope the rest of your vacation is fun!

A Brilliant Life said...

great to see you back. Boy oh boy do I feel you on this one!

The Family that Laughs Together said...

Wow what an adventure you are on! Glad you are blogging about it, and also glad that I stumbled upon your blog.

Many days I day dream about heading out and living somewhere else too... it's definitely my nature to do just that- not my husbands unfortunately.

I'll be following and living my adventurous side through your posts :)


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