It’s a given that with travel comes adventure. The planning and hype of getting all ready to go somewhere new or somewhere again. Maybe for a second time or maybe for the thirty-sixth. But sometimes, along with the adventure and excitement, I feel a twinge of sadness. Case in point: my recent two-week trip home. After three months of living in China, I was pumped to get back home even though I had to make the trek without my significant other, Iggy. This aspect of the trip obviously sucked for both of us. Nevertheless, I couldn’t wait to stay at my mom’s, hang out with her, and get some home cooked food. I felt privileged to stay at my sister’s and, with the supervision (thank god) of my mom, babysit my nephew for a couple of days while my sister and bro-in-law worked. And, it was pretty thrilling to spend five days in the Florida Keys to witness my brother get married and spend time with family and friends (both old and new).
It goes without saying that my trip back was pretty damn nice. I ate all the wonderful food I can’t get over here: mom’s mac n cheese, subs, sushi, fajitas, a huge American breakfast, Cadbury creme eggs, just to name a few. I drove as much as possible and loved every minute of it — even the two hours I spent on my old enemy the Pennsylvania turnpike. I dined at multiple restaurants that had atmosphere and heat. I went wine tasting with a good friend in my hometown and got sunburnt with others on the beach in Islamorada. I talked a lot about China and what it’s like living here and why we were living here and how long we’ll be living here and what we do living here. I felt like a broken record, but it was flattering that people were so interested. I’m not sure I captured the true essence of what living here is like, but I may have convinced a person or two to come visit us.
But back to the sadness, which weighed on me over the thirty plus travel hours that I put in to get from Ft. Lauderdale to Haiyang. As much as I love to travel, I was sad to leave my family and home. I guess traveling now is different because living in China isn’t like taking a trip to China. I don’t have a finite date set for seeing home or them again. Truth be told, I was also kind of sad to go back to China. Of course, I couldn’t wait to get back to Iggy, but I wasn’t exactly anxious to get back and deal with some of the hassles of living here — like walking off the plane and entering the Beijing airport where the smell of cigarette smoke and fried dumplings assaulted my nostrils.
When we signed up to move here the four-year commitment didn’t seem that long. Seriously, folks, think about how quickly college flew by. But after being home, I guess four years seems a little longer than I originally thought. I know my feelings of sadness are temporary and I hope they are for my family too (then again maybe they couldn’t wait for me to leave…ha!). We made some great new memories while I was home and I know we’ll have plenty more in the future, some of which will be made in China (hint hint…start booking your tickets people).
So…thanks to my family, friends, and everyone else for making my trip home so memorable and great. Thanks to my family for being supportive of us living half way around the world. I guess that’s mainly what this post is about. And if anyone is worried about me after reading this post, don’t be. I’m back with Iggy and we’re heading to Thailand tomorrow. Tough life, right? But hey, we’re off to celebrate Iggy’s big 3-0 and get scuba diving certified. Someone has got to do it, so it might as well be us!