I took a 19 hour flight from Oslo to Amsterdam, from Amsterdam to Detroit and from Detroit to Louisville - that's on the way there. On the way back it was even longer with 20 hours of flying from Louisville to Minneapolis (whose natives are super friendly and proud of their Scandinavian heritage from what I've gathered), from Minneapolis to Amsterdam and from Amsterdam to Sandefjord. I traveled alone, so it was extra nerve-wracking.
Under the worst of circumstances, I did enjoy my trip back to the US. I really missed family and though my trip was too short, it was so nice to see everyone again. It was also very different to see American culture again after being away for nearly 8 months! There were a few cultural differences I took some notice to after being away for a while.
1) Costs. The first thing I took notice to after arriving in America was the price of everything. I think during this trip was the first time I've ever thought to myself how cheap gasoline and everything else in America really is. I guess that's part of living in Norway and then traveling back to the US. It's a nice surprise after returning.
2) Signs and advertisements. Another thing I noticed is how I thought the streets looked so cluttered. America really likes signs and advertisements apparently. I know in Norway there are regulations for the size of signs alongside roads as having large signs is considered a distraction to drivers. So, it was a bit of a change coming back home to USA and seeing large signs, advertisements and billboards alongside the road.
I did notice a change in McDonalds who now lists how many calories a food product contains beside the food listings.
|Welcome to America, folks! Bacon and cheese in between two pieces of fried chicken!|
via Web MD
4) The weather throughout my visit in Kentucky was warm for January. About 60-70 degrees F and 15-20 degrees C. It was so comfortable on my visit to Kentucky to feel warmer temperatures again!
5) Something I noticed soon after moving here in Norway is over the counter medications - or lack thereof compared to America. I took a picture while waiting on my flu shot and the picture only contains 1 aisle, not the 4-5 aisles of over the counter medications. Going back to America, I couldn't help but question, "Do people really need all that over the counter stuff?"
Anyways, like I was saying, my stay in America was nice under the worst of circumstances. Towards the end of my stay, it was very nice to go out and see some parts of Kentucky I really missed. I just wished I pulled my rental car over on the side of the road and took more pictures of old barns!!!
|My last night in Kentucky.|
|Sittin' with the Colonel!|
|Found a troll at a place called Troll Pub in Kentucky and had a cousin take my picture with it.|
I prided myself on my packing skills before leaving as I arrived with an empty suitcase (with just a few souvenirs) and my carry-on packed with clothes. However, I left with a 48 lbs suitcase (that was close as the limit is 50 lbs!), a 26 lbs carry on, a purse packed as full as possible and I mailed myself a box. My grandfather made some peanut butter fudge for me before I left and an uncle had given me some KFC spices among other things family had given me.
I also tried to bring into America some reindeer and moose jerky to share with family, which was unfortunately taken away from me when I landed at the Detroit airport.
Around Black Friday I found some really great online sales. However, with the customs limit and the cost of online international shipping, it would have been pointless to have shipped to Norway. So I had some things shipped to my mother's home address. I think that's a good idea for expats if at all possible if they're looking to save money on products. Speaking of another money saving idea, a lot of Norwegians shop at tax free shops in airports. This is where one can purchase tax free goods like alcohol, candy, some food, some clothing and cosmetics.
I'm so ready to go back to USA! I don't think my trip was long enough and I wish I could have spent more time with family, but I really needed to get back to school. I did do all I set out to do during my trip. I visited with all family, but it definitely wasn't enough time! While I don't have a set date, I'm thinking perhaps a good time to go back will be in June, but we'll see! I love Norway, I really love being in Norway, but you know, there's no place like home and Kentucky was and is my first home.