I'm experiencing a lot of culture shock for some reason on this trip home, I think mostly because my grandmother and her friend picked me up from the airport and the heavily accented discussions about Olive Garden were overwhelming. It's one thing to discuss chain "nice restaurants" with my parents; I'mso used to it that I don't even notice how it's so fundamentally depressing that the Bloomin' Onion we just ordered is the topic of conversation. But man, there's something about riding in an SUV with a woman you've never met and your mostly silent grandmother that really knocks your socks off, in a kind of "Ehhh, this is weird" way. Ye Gods, those salads really are to die for.
Also, I've been keeping track, and the rate of Mall Bangs is very high. My mother said it's not so much normal, bad country hair as much as it is what she calls "Hospital Hair," which I suppose is understandable. There's been a very welcome absence of Mom Jeans, especially on my mom (although I told her that she needs to buy longer jeans because she was floodin').
I've also been keeping an informal record of overt political incorrectness, which has been surprisingly low. One was when my grandmother was asked about who was living in So-and-So's house, and she replied, "I think it's some Mexicans." The other was a reference to someone missing my father's jaundice (oh, how I'm so upset about missing out on that, too): "I didn't see you when you looked like an Oriental." I'll be really impressed if that's all I hear before I return to Chicago on Tuesday.