(Written June 2, 2015)
(Ummm. I just discovered that I never posted this. Until now.)
It has been an 11 month drama with roller coaster moments, huge leaps of faith and other elements of adventure, and I can hardly believe the paperwork has culminated in this moment.
Today we embark on a 22-hour trip over 12 time zones that leads us to Grammy and Grandpa’s house.
Some people say we are “going home,” but where is home to our growing nuclear family?
Is it where our stuff is (China), where our passports are issued (now two countries), where we were born (3 choices), where our parents are from (4 countries), where we work, go to school, live and shop….I’m getting dizzy.
Our children definitely feel like China is home, and this trip to the US is a big adventure but also with its drawbacks. We’ve been trying to work through these feelings leading up to this time.
The top 5 things we will miss while we leave our home here in China for six months:
I have heard that you can only get them in a can in America. Our kids (and I) gobble them up in their sticky, gooey sweetness every day while they’re in season.
And every other Chinese food item found on a menu. Chinese food in the US just does not taste as vibrant and distinct.
3) Our friends.
We’ve been in this city for six years and have some pretty strong friendships going, both Chinese and expat. I shared tears with several of my girlfriends in the past couple weeks. Even as my 5 year old is excited about ‘Merica, she talks about missing her friends. The last sight we saw as we drove to the airport last week was two of the kids running to keep up with our van as it pulled out of our apartment complex, and our kids yelling and reaching out the window. Bittersweet. WeChat is my Chinese Facebook.
We will visit a dozen or more states, drive through twice as many, and sleep in many unfamiliar beds over the next six months, and be guests in other people’s kitchens and living rooms. As much as we love reconnecting with our dear, dear friends, it is hard to be on the road so much.
I am mostly liking the flexibility of spontaneous planning and last-minute changes that characterizes life in China. It’s easier to plan a lunch date or dinner with friends if it’s less than 24 hours away.
[The ice cream picture was taken after I took and passed my Chinese medical license, with two of my teammates who helped out that day. I received a phone call the afternoon before, telling me to show up “somewhere” the next morning at 9 am to take this exam.]
Tomorrow’s task: figure out how to get kids to fall asleep later than 2 pm.