Things I’ve Noticed Here

The cars here are enormous. They wouldn’t just look out of place in Denmark; they wouldn’t fit. Seriously, the things are monstrous. Some of the pick-ups, especially, are downright frightening.

Everything is big here, actually. The aisles in Target are twice the size of the aisles in Føtex. I’m not exaggerating. I might even be selling Target a bit short.

Target, in fact, is so big that the entire mall – Frederiksberg Center, I mean – could probably fit inside it. Target probably sells most anything you could find in Centret, too. Department stores have everything. (Although I don’t think it has a restaurant. I’m not sure.)

It’s not so strange, though. I thought it would feel alien and overwhelming to be surrounded by such enormous things, but it’s pretty familiar. I grew up with this, after all. Walking down the triple-sized aisles, gazing out over the rows and rows and rows of shelves and clothes and everything, I find myself thinking, in a kingly sort of way, “I could get used to this.”

The sizes may not be overwhelming, but the choices… There’s just so much of everything. My mom told my sister and me to pick out some shampoo for our bathroom. (There are two bathrooms! You have no idea what a luxury that is.) The two of us just looked at the solid wall of options in front of us, glanced at each other, and started to laugh. “This one looks funny,” my sister said. “Is that what how we’re going to choose, then?” I asked. “Which one looks funny?” She laughed and nodded. “It’s not like we have anything else to go on, right?”

In the end we picked a shampoo my mom recommended. “Let’s take the small one, though,” I said. “All these big sizes are freaking me out.” I guess I’m not that used to the enormity of everything after all.

On the first day here we went to the mall for lunch. I stepped out of the air-conditioned car into a wall of heat. It was such a familiar feeling. Not even freaky-familiar like déjà vu – just familiar. It’s odd how normal it is to go back to the place where you grew up.

It was a hundred degrees out when we got here. A hundred and ten in the garage. Fahrenheit is scary.

The air here is dry, so the heat is dry. It’s not so cloying and inescapable as humid heat. This is probably a very good thing – I’m not so good at telling, but my parents are both quite glad that there’s no humidity, and they grew up in Rio so they should know. Still, when we got here I had to keep splashing water on my face, arms and legs and lie down on the floor to keep from getting nauseous. More nauseous.

I was really, really sick when I got here. Not from the plane trip, for once – I had the most awesome flight ever in my opinion, because I didn’t get sick at all. We were on a double-decker jumbo jet (which I didn’t even know existed, but it is apparently a very new thing), and I didn’t feel a thing. Or – well – I felt a bit of turbulence three times. But that was it. And I slept through more than half of it. I was a happy person on that flight, believe me.

I got sick in the car, though, possibly because I’ve grown so unused to cars. I needed to open a window and stick my face into the roaring blast of air that comes from driving on a freeway. I was still sick when we got home, probably from the heat. I was dizzy, I had a headache, I started feeling queasy. We went out to eat, and by the time I’d nearly finished my pizza I finally felt well again.

Then I was just exhausted. Jetlag really sucks. I actually thought I’d be able to stay awake a few more hours after lunch, but then there was a car ride, and it made me sleepy… We got back to the house at six o’clock; I lay down on the carpet – “Just for a little bit,” I told myself. “Then I’ll check my email, see if Belle wants to go out.” The next thing I remember is waking up at 11:30, in pain because the floor is really hard, and staggering over to my bedroom, where I collapsed on the air mattress that is where my bed would be if I had one. I slept until  two in the morning.

I tried and tried to get back to sleep. It did not work, no matter what I did. I even tried crying myself to sleep – it’s not hard to make myself cry just now, after all: I just have to think of my friends and how I miss them. I cried, sure enough, but it didn’t make me sleep. I eventually gave up. Still, I refused to be properly awake until the sun was up. I ended up sitting in the only room with a window that faces east, waiting. It was rather boring. I kept crying, which I didn’t really want to do anymore.

The window apparently faces slightly too far southeast. I found this out a while after I had lost patience with the sun and opened my computer anyway.

I think I’m hurting my sister. I don’t mean to. I can’t be with her all the time right now though. I need to be inside my head even more than usual. I think she needs company to deal with things; I need solitude. It is an unfortunate combination. I really don’t want to hurt her. There’s only so much company I can stand just now, but I really don’t like seeing her cry. I mean, it’s expected that she’ll be sad to leave her friends, as I am. Crying can be good for you sometimes. But I still hate seeing her do it.

I don’t know if I have the strength or the goodness of heart to do something about it, though. I can’t be fun and playful and cheerful and happy for too long; I can do it for most of a day, but after a while I just need to marinate in my misery for a bit. Otherwise I’ll never deal with it.

And I do have to deal with it. It’s going to take me ages, but I want to be properly happy again as soon as possible.


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