America, less food-related

Shock, Culture, Reverse.

02.02.11 | 8 Comments

It is with a sheepish enthusiasm that I return, at last, to Plate of Wander. It has now been almost 4 full months since I left China and began my life in Florida.


Where I live

Florida. I had never been to Florida prior to moving here, but I thought of it as another adventure, another frontier yet to be discovered. Imagining Florida, my mind conjured palm trees, sand, and oranges hanging from green trees. I pictured it a laid-back, balmy, vibrant place where I might find some tropical respite and pick up some extra Vitamin D.

Let’s just say, my mind ascribed to Florida character and personality which far exceed its reality.


Macy's at West Palm Beach City Place.


Sand dunes on the beach.

That is not to say that Florida is not a beautiful place. If you are within a stone’s throw from the beach or in one of the nature preserves, it’s quite lovely. Though I must say that Palm Beach—both the beach and the island—is totally overrated. I’ve been to about a dozen beautiful nature preserves and parks and participated in my fair share of quirky events (since my fiance John is a balloon artist, that’s kind of a given). All of these will be covered here soon.


Salim the Ringling-trained clown.


The Amazing Steampunk Mr A


The Amazing Mr.A swallows fire

However instead of feeling intrepid, I’ve found myself feeling somewhat blasé about Florida altogether. South Florida is a sprawling, bland megalopolis stretching about 100 miles along the east coast. Each mile looks like the one before and the one after it; each town has the same stores as the town before it. Things here have few distinctions.


Not much to look at as I drive.

I suppose it could be called reverse culture shock, though I’ve remarked in the past that life in America feels sterile compared to the other countries I’ve been to. The things I miss the most are the simplest: being able to ride my bike or walk everywhere, interesting things to watch as you pass by in your car or on your bike, outdoor fruit and vegetable markets, and every manner of Chinese cuisine.


In Florida it rains fast but hard.

Then there are the intangibles, the ambience. I miss how clothes and underwear hang from windows; people gathering in parks to exercise and socialize; streets peppered with food stands showcasing a vast array of affordable, delicious edibles. Because I know there is so much more out there, I miss the excitement of the new, of the gritty and smelly, of the interaction with people who interact with their community.

It was a mistake to allow myself to slip into the monotony of reverse culture shock and letting Plate of Wander lapse. I’ve been working hard to get myself into the groove of writing and photographing and trying to find the interesting aspects of my life here. To my faithful readers, welcome back. To those who are new, welcome, and to all of you, please drop me a comment and say hello.

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