The return to the US has been a process to say the least. Rebuilding your identity when you have effectively disappeared for 6 years save a passport, a social security number, and an idle bank account takes a tremendous amount of tedious work. And a fair amount of money.
The initial panic comes with finding a car, especially in a town like LA. If the US was built on the foundation of the roads that connect it, LA has crammed everyone into the basement. Then comes finding somewhere to live, followed immediately by things to put in it, and how to find your way around. In the midst of all this physical disorientation, there is also the sheer amount of bureaucratic paperwork that the US thrives on. Banks suddenly become alarmed that you are withdrawing money. Or depositing money. Or doing much of anything related to money. Banks here seem to have the emotional constitution of a traumatized fieldmouse. And of course there’s getting health insurance, which somehow feels sleazier than when you bought the car. And everyone wants your social security number for even the smallest transaction, which would be more reassuring if there weren’t all those stories of dogs getting credit cards.
Finally, when we had dealt with the part of getting here and we felt reasonably established, we had to tackle the particular issue of keeping Liesel here. Despite some bumps along the way, we had managed to survive the move with our relationship intact and even significantly improved, helped along by the lack of roommates and a drastic increase in people who actually thought we were kind of cool. Our wedding had been miraculously successful, due in no small part to that same sudden explosion of friends, but the paperwork was insane. Forms, letters, taxes, proof of second cousin’s car insurance, and of course the meetings and interviews. But nearly 6 months after our arrival, the last piece fit. We are now well and truly living in the US again.