“Brother, she’s all country
…to her down home roots
…from the song she plays.
That’s the way she was born and raised.
She ain’t afraid to stay country.”
Lyrics modified from “She’s Country” by Jason Aldean
I’ve been home now for over two weeks and each new day – and sometimes hour – brings about a revelation with something that I love about living in the country. Yes, Sycamore is surrounded by cornfields as far as the eye can see in some places, but with a population of over 17,000 people, we are far from destitute. It is, though, a great little country town with nice people, big houses, yards with grass (!!), and, most importantly, my family.
1. Driving- While public transportation in Hong Kong is world-class, I really just love driving my car. You can turn on the radio (see #2), go at your own speed, and because it’s the country, there is a lot of open road with no one in the way (minus a tractor or two haha).
2. The radio- Country music is what I’ve lived my life by for the last 13 years (when I was 16, I hated listening to the same songs over and over again on the radio, so I forced myself to listen to country stations and I fell in love). I still listen to the pop stations or oldies occasionally, but having the choice of channels, especially in the car…and in English…is great. The best part? Singing in my car at the top of my lungs and grooving to the music. Singing and dancing while listening to my MP3 player and walking through the crowded streets? Not possible!
3. Food- Cookie dough, bacon, frozen pizzas, oh my! Yes, I’ll probably gain a bunch of weight back, but it’ll taste damn good!
4. Laundry- Having a dryer is unexpectedly amazing. Even though my rooftop was a fine place to hang out clothes to dry (and to have a glass of wine), it certainly wasn’t ideal with the rain, sun, and humidity mucking up my plans to do laundry.
5. Refrigerators- Not that my fridge is monster-size or anything, but it’s big enough to hold a gallon of milk and that’s really all I need! Living off of a mini-fridge was hard enough in college when I had a cafeteria to eat in, let alone when I’m an adult who enjoys cooking.
6. The people- Of course my friends and my students in HK were nice, but they were sometimes the only people who would smile at me all day long. Waitresses? No! Taxi drivers? No! Patrons on the MTR? Definitely not! Everyone (okay, the majority) is so nice here. I missed the friendly disposition of the bankers and the waiters in my small town; sure the latter are working for a tip, but at least they smile and act like they want to be bringing me a pineapple margarita.
7. Family- This should probably be at #1, but having my family (and friends) nearby is definitely a perfect reason to be at home in the country.
8. Big houses with big yards- There may be a drought this summer, but when the rain starts pouring and the grass gets greener, I am going to love my yard. Hong Kong is notorious for weedy grass sporting “Do Not Walk” signs at the edge. With luscious, soft grass next to my parents’ 2-story house, there’s almost no need to leave!
Not everything in Sycamore is perfect and there’s definitely stuff I miss about Hong Kong, so stay tuned to find out what has made tears prickle in my eyes and what made my heart sad I’m not in HK anymore.