Day 282 – 288: Arizona 7/12/2016 – 7/18/2016

Tuesday 7/12/2016

Wally

Just got to say that it’s good to be back in the states again, it is a bit weird to be back We’ve just been living in other cities, cultures and experiences for so long now that being back to familiarity is off. There are things that stand out now that is distinctly American that I took for granted before.

  • Like strolling through a well-stocked grocery store
    • Throughout China all we had were smaller grocery stores that carried JUST what you needed. If you wanted to get western goods you have to go out of your way to go to those stores. Also grocery stores here are HUGE, that’s not to say that there aren’t big ones in China either, but our stores are consistently big. Syd and I went to Target and Safeway here and we were kind of in awe at just how big the stores were. Granted it’s not like we’ve never seen these stores before, but it’s just being in the presence of it again.
  • Being connected at all times
    • While living and China and traveling abroad our phones were just mini computers that only worked while we were logged into WiFi. Thank god we live in a day and age where we can download just about any app and still call and text people. But the biggest hassle of not being connected is that when you’re out and about you can’t reach anyone unless you’re on WiFi! There were so many times where Syd and I could not separate from each other in fear that we won’t be able to find one another, or if I’m coming home from work and I wasn’t able to text het to let her know how far out I was. I was able to text her that I was on my way home from Starbucks and should be home within the next 10 min or so. Also, along the lines of being connected it’s nice to be able to use social media on the go and not just in the little hot spots I had available to me at certain points in the day.
  • Knowing what you’re doing
    • I know how to navigate the roads here and can drive confidently knowing that I won’t have someone on my ass or cutting me off every second. Or being able to go to a grocery store and know what I’m buying and how to navigate the store itself. Everything just makes sense that way.
  • Being able to cook.
    • Syd and I had not cooked a single meal while we were living abroad. We had a very college diet of ramen and oatmeal and when we did eat real meals it was us eating out. There is something therapeutic when you’re cooking, you’re definitely just living in the moment and following the directions to the recipe or just trying to be a few steps ahead of it. It’s moments like that when you’re just in the zone and it feels nice.

Syd

Wow it feels so good to sleep in that bed again. I woke up about 5:45 am. I only had about 5 hours of sleep but I was out like a light!! When I woke up I spoke with my dad and mom for a little and wished my sisters a fun and safe trip in Maui. I cannot wait to see everyone next week.  I called American Airlines this morning to see where our luggage was and was told that it will be here around 1:30pm. Ok, that’s not bad! Wally and I lounged around with my aunt and uncle. We cleaned up our bags and reorganized all of our stuff and started laundry. Also, there was a SVU marathon USA, hells yes!!! It was so nice to watch normal tv and relax. Wally and I ate some cereal, yum!!

Well 1:30 rolled around and nothing! I called back and she said now that there is no time. GREAT!!! Finally they called around 4:30 to say that it will be between 5-9pm. Well ok then. Wally and I were wearing Uncle Neal’s clothes so we headed to Target to get some clothes since American Airlines will reimburse us. We took the Audi and headed to the store, Wally and I joked that look we own an Audi but I don’t own a bra hahah. WOW, Target is beautiful! I missed it. We picked up some clothes and groceries. We went to pay with the Target red card and they said that it won’t work since we did not have the new card. We explained that we have been out of the country and do not have the new card, she was nice enough to still give us our discount and we left. We stopped by the Starbucks to pick up our cups, one Arizona and one Phoenix. We made our way to the grocery store and man to see fresh fruits and veggies and know that they are safe to eat made me tear up. I LOVE AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We finished up and headed back. I love the new Audi. It is such a smooth ride, Wally and sang and danced and chilled in the car. When I got home Bianca called and we Skyped for a while. SO excited to see her when we get home. It was fun to Skype and actually be in the same time zone.

Tonight I am cooking baked mostaccioli  and garlic cheese bread. It turned out amazing and it was the perfect meal to cook. I am so happy to be back in a working, normal and amazing kitchen.  Tomorrow I am going to make chocolate chip cookies and samoas pie. We all relaxed the rest of the night and hung out. Perfect first day back in the states. Good night!

Wednesday 7/13/16

Wally

Syd had gotten up early and started doing some chores around the place. We just have bags upon bags upon bags of dirty clothes and NEEEED to get washed. That’s not to say we didn’t wash clothes along the way, but there’s only so much we could do by hand or by their shitty washing machines in a foreign language. So, we’re taking full advantage of the fact that we got a couple of good machines to do our washing and drying for us.

While Syd was toiling away I ended up sleeping in. I did my best to help her out from time to time throughout the day, but she really shouldered the majority of the work. I was just the extra pair of hands for her to use.

I did help Neal with a quick errand of picking up a bolt for a metal rod that go to the pool filter. Off we went to the hardware store. Again the novelty of knowing where to go for such an oddly specific item is great. When we were in China I needed paint because I accidently peeled some paint off the walls, I had no idea where to begin looking for it. Something as simple as that completely eluded me.

For dinner we went to Panda Express!!! Now I don’t know if I’ve told you this before, but old Wally would have told you that Panda Express is not real Chinese food, but Wally now will tell you it is. Now hear me out, there Chinese food isn’t an all-encompassing category, in fact there are lots of different regions in China that cook the food completely differently than others.  Shanghainese food is greasy and heavy, Taiwanese food is light and slightly sweet and Sichuan food is SPICY. Panda Express is the epitome of American Chinese food. When we were in China it was so difficult to get anything like Panda. Not because it isn’t Chinese food, but because no one knew how to cook the American style. There was one restaurant that was called Fortune Cookie, but we only have the pleasure of dining there once. Either way my point is…. Take for example someone asks what you had for dinner and you say Italian food. They then ask you were at and you respond the Olive Garden. Now if that person were to tell you that’s not real Italian food because real Italians wouldn’t eat that kind of stuff,  that mother fucker would sound pretentious as shit! So… I’ve come around to the idea now that Panda is indeed real Chinese food.

Syd

I finished washing all of our clothes and we are now repacking all of our clothes. It is crazy to think this is the last time we are packing up these suitcases and trying to weigh them out and go from there. We chilled and watched SVU and packed up.

We had Panda for dinner and it was delicious! I am in heaven. We came home and watched Rick and Morty and ate dinner. It was so much fun to hang out with everyone and relax. I love being here in AZ. My aunt and uncle are awesome and it is so relaxing at their house.

Thursday 7/14/2016

Wally

Didn’t really sleep all that well the night before, so I was up by 3 and just stayed up. But I made myself useful and took care of some laundry and fully packed a suitcase for us. I also applied to some more jobs. Still no word on an actual teaching position, so it looks like I might be subbing for the year… I’m not exactly looking forward to it, but there’s no other way for me to get my foot in the door. Whatever it’s all good gotta do what you gotta do.

We just kind of lounged around for most of the day. Syd got a few job interviews lined up already, she’s amazing over the phone with these people and I can tell that they’re already sold on her.

We went to the movies to watch Independence Day. It’s nice being back again in a normal movie theater. I never noticed this before, but everything here in the states is sooooo much bigger than everything else around the world. I remember going into the theater and just thinking damn…. It’s huge! And we were in one of the smaller theaters too!

Syd

Woke up and got ready for the day. Wally was already downstairs working on stuff for me which was so sweet. We ate some breakfast and I made a samoas pie. It was nice to bake again. I hope the pie turns out well. I am a little nervous. Wally and I took care of some business this morning. I applied to a lot of jobs and even have an interview next Thursday. Keep your fingers crossed. We also set up appointments to cancel our Chinese bank accounts, meet up with some people and get all of our stuff back. It was so great to clear things off my check list.

Wally and I decided to take a break and chill at the pool for a couple of hours. The weather was perfect and the pool was so refreshing. We listened to music and relaxed for a few hours. We came in and went with my aunt and uncle to the pool store to get a few things. We all came home and decided to take some naps before we went to the movies. The room we stay in is like a black hole. Once you lay in the bed you never want to wake up, it is so comfy and the curtains will black everything out. I love sleeping in that room. We go from a 30 minute nap to an hour and a half. Such a great nap and now I feel so much better. We had some dinner then all headed to the movies. Wow, American movie theaters are great! I had the best popcorn with so much salt and butter and a tasty cherry coke. We watched Independence Day 2. It was not as good as the first one but still fun to watch. I love the movies. After the movie ended we headed to Yogurtland for a late night snack. We all chatted and hung out for a while. We came home and relaxed then headed to bed. Another perfect day in AZ.

Friday 7/15/2016

Wally

Chilled poolside for most of the day and had some leftovers for dinner. Nothing all that special.

Sydney

Lounging by the pool was so nice. Completely relaxed and ready to take on the world. We ate and chilled all day. Leftovers for dinner and watched some tv.

Saturday 7/16/2016

Wally

Finally able to kick it by the pool all day today, however the only problem is the freaking AZ sun it’s brutal… If you’re not under some shade it feels like your skin is burning. We lathered ourselves up nice and good with sunscreen and just enjoyed an entire day of lounging about. Gotta get a respectable tan on otherwise we’ll be scrutinized back in CA.

For dinner we grilled up some chicken breasts and corn. I can honestly say I’ve never had to grill chicken breasts before and I don’t really like cooking chicken too much because I’m always paranoid that I’ll undercook it or it’ll come out dry. So I looked up how to brine chicken breasts and went ahead with it. The chicken turned out super juicy and moist. I’m just tooting my own horn here, but I’m rather proud of myself for that one.

Sydney

Laying by the pool was so nice again today. I have a ways to go before I get tan but I am working on it. Watched some tv and Wally grilled some BBQ chicken for dinner. Everything was delicious and Wally was the BBQ master. I am so proud. I hate cooking chicken because I am constantly terrified it is undercooked but luckily it was perfect.

Sunday 7/17/2016

Wally

A day out at the pool was cut short because it had gotten so windy and cloudy that it just wasn’t really all that practical. We did, however finish up Arranged and kind started on watching season 1. It’s a really interesting show about couples in arranged marriages and how they cope with not only being in a new relationship, but being newlyweds and honestly for the first time learning about each other and how to live with one another. It’s a rough adjustment period for anyone, but couple that with a marriage the pressure seems to be a bit too much for some couples.

For dinner we went to a local pizza place. The food was delicious, but I can’t help but judge Americans anymore we ordered medium drinks and what came out was absolutely colossal! It definetly wasn’t a medium sized cup instead it was a large and their small was a medium. It’s just crazy our portion sizes here in the states compared to everywhere else.

Back at home we watched Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Tina Fey stars in it as a war reporter and it just follows her time in Afghanistan. It honestly isn’t a bad watch.

Syd

It sucks that it got cloudy and rainy today but whatever we have had a few good days. We came inside finished some packing and did some laundry. Only one more day then we are back on a flight to CA. CRAZY!!! We relaxed and I gave my aunt a mani and pedi. We all chatted and enjoyed the company.

Dinner we headed to a pizza place and it was very good! Refills on drinks, AMAZEBALLS! Yes, the medium was unnecessary. We only ate about half the pizza and took it home. We all enjoyed some of my aunts cake and extra frosting and watched the movie. It was ok, I don’t think I would watch it again but good for one time. I also learned a lot about flights and  airplanes from Uncle Neal. We got on a conversation then he should us charts of flight patterns over SOCal. It was really interesting and I learned a lot. My dad teaches me cars and my uncle teaches me planes. Another wonderful day.

Monday 7/18/2016

Wally and Syd

We lounged around for the majority of the day waiting for the Rattlers game to start. Syd finally talked me into watching San Andreas with her and I hate to admit it, but it actually wasn’t all that bad. Good stupid action movie.

Unfortunately, Neal and Dianne couldn’t make it out to the game with us, so we went on our own. When we got there it was crazy to see just how many people were there to watch a Monday night AFL game. Those of you that are unfamiliar with Arena Football, which I’m assuming is all of you cause why would you be, the Rattlers are like the Patriots or the Lakers of the AFL. Their fan base is also pretty damn intense. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a crowd this big for an AFL game, especially on a Monday night! Either way it’s really cool to see another teams game in another arena, but we just couldn’t get too into it because it just wasn’t our guys down there. We ended up leaving at the half.

Now we’re home packing up and getting ready to get back into California tomorrow. Can’t wait.

Tuesday 7/19/2016

We got dropped off at the airport and said our goodbyes. Once we got on the plane it all started to sink in that our world adventure was all over. I can’t believe just how many places we’ve been to and seen and now we’re coming home. I’m excited to not be living out of a suitcase anymore and to be able to properly do laundry.

Well Clint was nice enough to come and pick us up at the airport, but he forgot where he parked his car. I ended up standing guard of our shit while Syd and Clint went hunting for the car. After about an hour of looking around Clint remembers that he actually parked it in another garage….

Syd needed to get her Del Taco on, so that was the first meal we had back in California. She literally started to cry when we took her first bite into her burrito.

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