23 April 2013


Let me start by saying that I am getting so much LESS sleep in America than I ever did in Singapore. It’s crazy. I have been telling people that I will be here likely through the end of June (which was confirmed yesterday – at least for now; you all know how things in PNG go), so I have been taking my visiting life pretty easy. 

After four days in Ohio, I took off for D.C. with my best friend, Katie, and Paul’s sister, Alexis. I love Alexis but she made me realize all of the reasons why I divorced my 20s – Katie and I are so unbelievably happy to be 30. Ha.

We had a great time with each other, eating lots of food, hanging out at a baseball game – I say hanging out because I was the only one who actually watched and knew what was going on. Alexis may have been seated for two innings and Katie was good for about half of it. By the end, they both realized why people like going to baseball games and said they would do it again.

For anyone unfamiliar with one of my favorite in-person sports, baseball commences in the spring and plays through the championships in the fall. For $75 a ticket, we had access to the club level, which had its own bars and food vendors in an air-conditioned room. We had great seats that were covered in case of inclement weather but we were still outdoors.

The weather was perfect. It was sunny, breezy and the air smelled of ballpark favorites like hot dogs, popcorn and, Nic’s favorite, candy floss. I won’t lie, I love baseball games because I can sit with friends, talk openly, drink beer in big, plastic cups and eat popcorn and hot dogs until I can’t fit into my pants anymore – baseball is one of my favorite things. That is, when the home team actually shows up.

Poor Nats. The Washington Nationals had been hailed as one of the year’s best teams and were expected to do very well. They didn’t. It was pretty much a beating by the Atlanta Braves.

When the game ended, we parted ways. I headed back to NEOH (Northeastern Ohio) and just continued to do what had to be done.

Since I arrived, I have been running – signing up for a gym membership, taking Gran where she needed to go, chauffeuring my mom to doctor’s appointments, running my own errands to get things I needed for my new tiny house and, every other free hour is spent at the restaurant.

Paul’s parents own a small place that serves lunch and dinner six days a week. Annabell’s Restaurant, to me, is like Cheers, so I love it. There are tables for two and groups as many as 15 come in on a regular occasion. We have people who eat here two meals a day most of the six days we are open.

Then there’s the Counter Crew. We have a few men who range in age from 30s to 80s. They have their assigned counter chairs like people have their assigned pews in church. The staff members know them by name and usually know their orders before the men get situated in their chairs.

It’s a very blue collar group but the food ranges from diner style to gourmet, all with a homestyle flair. Tim hides in the kitchen, where he manages his staff and Suzi typically spends half her time with the customers and the other half making sure that the books are done and their people get paid.

The prices are incredibly inexpensive, especially for my Singaporean brain.

In order for Suzi to get a break (because I can’t really do Tim’s job), I have been helping with the customer end of things, restaurant management and some of the back office work. My worker brain still is not grasping that showing up to work at 11 or later is OK but, when we don’t leave until 9:30 or later in the evening, I realize just how long that day actually is.

Last Friday, I decided to take a break from the gym (I had gone the four previous days and had a gym date planned for Saturday morning). I decided not to set my alarm. When Suzi asked how late I intended to sleep, I said probably 7:30 because I had been waking up between 6 and 7:30 every day since I landed. 10:45. It was 10:45 before I awoke.

Because I never gave myself a chance to experience jet lag, I refrained from napping and I drank a cup of coffee if I needed it during daylight hours, I sort of forced myself to adjust. And then, at my first opportunity, I crashed. I slept 11 hours and it was great. But since Friday, I have been dragging. I need naps but I can’t because I am either working or watching my cousin’s kids, which I love. I won’t lie, though, there was a point yesterday that I wondered if I could get away with just a 15-minute nap while one child slept and the other was watching television. Just 15 minutes…..

No, I decided we both needed to go run around outside in the crisp air in order to wake ourselves. So we did.

Being back in Ohio and learning about the great things Salem has to offer (the Community Center, the Natural Solutions Salon, Friends Roastery, which is pretty much the best coffee place ever, now importing teas as well), I am starting to like it.

I am actually having a hard time figuring out where home is. Salem feels pretty good. But so did Singapore.

Don’t worry, though, I am sure the PNG people will be telling me where I need to live in three months. 

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