I am back in my apartment in Shanghai after a mostly good visit home.
My grandmother unfortunately passed away a few days after I arrived home. If this sad event had to happen, I am glad that it did when I was home. I was able to say goodbye to her and also turn to friends and family for support.
I also got a horrific cold that cut my trip to NJ short and had me home bound for a couple days. Bah. I am still a congested mess.
Other than that, it was a good trip back. I got time with friends, family and the dogs. Everything I wanted. I ate the foods I missed. I got to drive. Liz and Emily stayed over. There was an open house in which I got to see bunches o' people (including Bonnie, Nate and Beth, which was a nice surprise). I visited Drew (yay seeing everyone at Drew!!) and Burf and Jacob and Stacy's new apartment (along with lotsa B1S2 people). I went out to dinner with Sabrina and my cousin Savannah. I even gave a talk at my old high school. One of my favorite moments was when I was visiting Drew and my Chinese professor called me to tell me to come to class. For a moment I thought, "I did graduate...right?" Turns out she wanted me to talk to her class.
I received a couple of very sweet birthday gifts including a sword, a flask, a picture frame, a cross-stitched birthday card, a bow-tie and a bunch of candy. Hmm...if you look at that list of presents I think it shows my odd personality.
One thing I kept saying to people was that it felt strange to be home because...it didn't feel strange. I lived in another country for five months and had to depend on myself and create a new life and make new friends and learn all about this new job. I've been living in my own apartment for the first time. And in a city for the first time. I spent 5 months away from everything familiar. I felt like I had grown. Like I had changed. And yet...after only one day home I felt like I had never left and I was the same person I always was. Like my time in Shanghai was just some dream I had...
My ride to the airport was fun. I spent most of it chatting with a guy from CT on his way to Scotland. We talked movies, books, and a lot about LOST. At the airport I got myself something to eat with him and then waited for my plane. I apparently fell asleep as soon as I got settled into my seat. I don't remember taxing or even taking off. Wowzers. Unfortunately I woke up about 3 hours into the flight and didn't sleep for more than 20 minutes or so at a time for the rest of the trip. I watched "The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy", read a knitting magazine and all of the book "Stardust". I also tried not to wake up the woman sitting next to me that fell asleep on my shoulder. I figured one of us might as well get some rest.
It was strange going through customs and getting a taxi. I could remember how scared I was when I did that by myself only 6 months ago. Now it was just routine. While watching the streets signs and buildings pass as I got closer to my apartment, I didn't feel the same feeling of comfort and warmth as I did when I got my first sight of home two weeks ago. But it wasn't scary anymore. It was familiar. And that's something.
After a 4 hour van ride, 5 hours of waiting in the airport, a 15 hour flight and a half hour cab ride, I am a bit awash in feelings. I'm exhausted for one thing. I am already a bit homesick but I think that's because I am focusing on the things I just left behind and haven't yet gotten back to the things I like about Shanghai. And did I mention I was exhausted? Exhaustion makes me depressed. I also have to teach tomorrow and I have no lesson plan or anything. Not being prepared makes me antsy.
Right now I am waiting for the water heater to get cooking so I can take a shower and wash the feeling of travel off of me. Today is supposed to be a work/office day before school starts tomorrow so I am going to go in the office and hopefully someone will give me an idea of the lesson plan for the week so I can prepare.
Now that I am back in Shanghai it feels like home was the dream...
*sigh* Sometimes I wish someone would just come along and make all the decisions for me again like when I was a child.
Much love and hugs,