E.coli or not, I will never give up on you, Chipotle

A sentence I thought I’d never say: This is the fourth time I’ve gone back to the U.S. in a year and a half.

It’s no longer as shocking as it used to be, and maybe that’s a good thing.

The first time back, there’s this tendency to idolize a place in an in infantile way – you smile sheepishly at the TSA inspectors, look wide-eyed at the first American Starbucks you’ve seen in a year, and feel overwhelmed from not standing out among the crowd.

On some levels, I feel like I am looking at home through a different perspective. Yes, my first meal back from China will always be Chipotle (and yes, I am up to date on the outbreak news, but I already had E.Coli poisoning this year, and Chipotle, I just can’t quit you), but now, the U.S. just doesn’t seem as crowded as it used to be. I don’t see people driving in the middle of two lanes on the highway, like D and I had on our way to Pudong Airport, or feel suspicious about every fruit that I eat. At the same time, I can’t help but want a bowl of rice with every meal or drink my water lukewarm.

Now, there’s a beautiful ordinariness to being back. It’s not that being back in America has lost some of its excitement, but rather that it now both China and America have the familiarity of home, and I think I am okay with that.



6 thoughts on “E.coli or not, I will never give up on you, Chipotle”

  • I had to look up Chipotle. Still not quite sure. I’m don’t know if you’ve ever seen Family Guy but I then imagined that that might have been what their American Football song was all about… but now see that that was “Shipoopi”. Don’t know what that is either. Different cultures are so confusing.

    • Ahh yes, the shipoopi reference is to an old American musical. Since I’ve started working for a British firm, I’ve run into much more cultural differences than I had first thought there’d be

      • Well that sounds like a fun blog post in the making right there!

        We’ve just lost Family Guy and American Dad because the BBC channel which imported them has been brought down. A lot of the meaningless references to people we don’t know are still humorous, but then there are some things – shipoopi – which are just bizarre and puzzling. Now I know.

        • You’re right! I should totally write about that. I’ve been compiling a list over the past few months, including the amount of overly polite emails I’ve received

  • Guess how freaked out my in-laws were when they saw that in Germany they follow the traffic rules so strictly such as only driving on the right lane on a highway except you want to overtake another car on the next lane…
    Or how less people there are in Finland! They still dont believe that Xi’an has nearly double the amount of people than all of Finland. For them it means that the country must be tiny so they always asked me whether Finland is as big as Xi’an even though they were with me in the car for 5hours driving 430km to our cottage.

    • Hahah that sounds wonderfully hilarious! I would love to see a sitcom of a Chinese in Finland, although my entire life in Shanghai sort of feels like a comedy of errors

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