Come to think of it, with just a handful of days left in this country, each everyday experience seem to pass by with a 'last time' tag now. The last time I go to this store? The last time I pass this toll-booth? The last time I eat a cheesecake? ...
Anticipatory nostalgia. There is so much about the US I will miss back in India. Or I expect I will miss, is probably more accurate. I don't know for sure, do I? I might think I will miss something, but in reality I might actually not even remember it, and something much more mundane might tug at the heartstrings. Only one way to find out.
Let me put my stake in the ground. Let me put out in the public domain what I think I will miss most about life in the US. Maybe a few months after I move to India, I can look back upon this list and see whether reality at all resembled my predictions. So here it is. My Top 10 list of what I most expect to miss about life in America:
10. Things: My 60 " flat screen TV. My 286 horsepower car. My $6 lint remover brush. TiVo. Dear things, I will miss you all.
9. Suburbia: Near a city, but away from the bustle. The peace of living on a lakefront. More rooms than I ever thought I would need. Walking in the woods after work. Suburban America, you spoilt me.
8. Saying hello to strangers: Smiling at people on the road. Cooing at strangers' children. Holding the elevator door. Saying please and thank you to waiters. Common courtesy, it was nice knowing you.
7. Football: The pre-season drama. The thrill of Sunday afternoons. Sweat, grunts and strategy in HD. Super bowl parties. Redskins crashing and burning. NFL Football, there is nothing quite like you.
6. Flowers: Cherry blossoms announcing spring. Daffodils in the garden. Azelias in a pot. Tulips in the park. Chrysanthemums everywhere. Flowers, it was nice seeing you growing in the wild.
5. Driving: Long hours at the wheel. Drivers keeping to their lanes. Interstates. Listening to NPR. A new audio book every other week. Road trips with the wife. Fiesta potatoes at Taco Bell drive through. Driving, it was fun while it lasted.
4. Doing business on the internet: Buying a printer, click. Paying my taxes, click. Getting directions, click. Looking for a doctor, click. Holding mail while away on vacation, click. Opening an account, click. Closing a service, click. Business without paperwork, you were a pretty neat idea.
3. Two day weekends: Watching Netflix movies on Friday night. Saturday comics with the Washington Post. Holidays that always fell on Fridays and Mondays. Two full days off. Groaning about meetings on Friday afternoon. Discussing plans starting Thursday. Asking 'how was your weekend?' on Mondays. Two day weekends, you are so much cooler than your one and a half day relatives.
2. Public libraries: Thousands of books, on every topic imaginable. Open till 8 in the evening. Allowing me to borrow upto 50 books at a time! Reading area for the daughter. Audio books. Placing holds on books I can't find. Access to 26 great libraries, just in my county. FREE! Public libraries of America, you should be proud of yourselves!
1. National Parks: The majesty of Grand Canyon. The stunning diversity of Yellowstone. The breathtaking grandeur of Arches. The birds and alligators of Everglades. The other-worldly quiet of Badlands. The fall colors of Acadia. The bears of Great Smokey Mountains. National Parks, you are truly America's best idea.