After the plane ride and the metro ride and the bus ride, I drove my car home the final leg from traveling abroad. I waited at a stoplight next to the Fresh Market, a local grocery store. I gazed at the green glow of the sign spelling out the store’s name and thought, If I were from France, that supermarket would be totally exotic. If I were a tourist in America, I would want to walk inside and take pictures of the labels on the chocolates. I’d want to gawk at the strange American foods that they don’t make in other countries, just like I was fascinated by prawn sandwiches in London.
When I was walking around my city in the following weeks, I looked at every single statue or fountain or old building and thought, If I were from Britain, I would have to snap a digital photo of that. As a rule, when I was overseas I took a picture of every piece of statuary or art or plain old engraved boulder, just because I was in a foreign country and those things looked like culture.
It is odd to think that my life is exotic to someone else, just as it must seem odd to foreigners that I find their lives exotic too. Everything that is familiar to me is odd to someone else.