And just like that (well, after a longer than long 17-hour flight in which we made an emergency landing to drop off a sick passenger on a remote island in Canada) I’m back in America. It never ceases to amaze me that you can be in one city one day, then in a completely different place on the other side of the globe the other. And you’re supposed to pretend it’s normal. But I digress.
The morning after I arrived in Los Angeles last Monday night, I woke up thinking I’m still in my bed in Yerevan. But soon my mind and body agreed that I’m not, and like a true American worker bee, I popped up early compared to my Armenia rise time of 11 am. The rest of the day I was on autopilot, running errands at all my old spots (Trader Joe’s, Wells Fargo, CVS Mobil Gas Station), taking in the totally different scenery, as if the last six months never happened. It felt strange climbing into my car (versus my “personal” taxi driver’s car) for the first time and driving — luckily I still remember the rules of the road and how to fill gas. Instead of walking past Malocco Cafe in Cascade, I drove by a ton of same-looking Starbucks in the Valley; instead of having jengyalov hac down the street from my apartment in Komitas, I ate guacamole and chips at Casa Vega in Sherman Oaks; and rather than seeing prominent noses and round bellies hiding under tight tops, I was surrounded by a mix of features and chiseled bodies in workout gear.
It’s been exactly a week since my return and the biggest change so far is that I don’t feel as alive here as I did in Armenia — and I don’t think it’s the jet lag. As we all know, life in America forces you to settle into a routine, whereas life in Yerevan runs on spontaneity. I do feel more ambitious here in terms of my career since there are more opportunities (and since cost of living is higher, I have to hustle more), but I don’t feel as energized in my soul. Yerevan can be annoying in some ways (no AC in taxis or dishwashers or pre-cut veggies or toilet seat covers or overly nice customer service), but there’s never a dull day. It’s like that quote: “The less routine, the more life.” I miss waking up in Yerevan, not knowing what the day and night would bring — but knowing it was always going to be thrilling. In America, unless you plan out your weeks in advance, the only human interaction you’re going to have is with your co-workers and favorite TV characters.