I couldn’t believe it when that struck me today.
For me (Ray’s had a different story but here’s my experience), because I spent pretty much 2 months of that on an awesome roadtrip through the States, seeing a surprising LOT of my best friends early on (who are scattered all over the Western US – Arizona, California, Washington, Idaho…), as well as various other friends and relatives along the way, catching up on all my favorite foods, visiting some of my very favorite and most-missed places as well as exploring some incredible new ones, and not to mention attending two of the best conferences in the entire world – one that was at a ski resort in Colorado and one in Portland…that time has really flown by.
And this was by design. Not for the time to go quickly (or to delay getting home to the Nest and settled for so long – sorry Mom!), but to have a smooth (as possible), non-traumatizing or depressing, and even fun and exciting transition from a life and an experience that was pretty darn hard to top, leave, or even conceive of, to a place that was theoretically home but probably wouldn’t seem it, people who would be excited to see me and expect me to be or act a certain way (like, likewise) but I knew I’d let them down (at least initially) by being so inwardly turned and focused instead, and just a new life in general.
It’s not that Asia life was so superior and the USA life paled. It’s always this way when you transition between two whole and separate Lives. But in the 12 years since I left home for college, this was the longest continuous one I’d had, with absolutely indescribable experiences over a massive scope of time and growth and development for me. So I knew I had to do it carefully, so as not to let the experience on either end look disproportionately amazing or crappy. I WAS excited to go back…but I knew it would take time – a fair amount of it, and a certain way of doing it to ease into that so that fact wouldn’t suddenly alter in my flipped-upside-down mind, and leave me looking regretfully back at the life and continent I’d left behind. I was still happy there, very much so. But it WAS time to come back, if for nothing else at least a visit (and a reasonably extended one), given that I’d not even seen my MOM for almost 3 years.
The transition thing is a source of plenty of literature online amongst the expats and travelers of the world, and for good reason. It’s something I’ll definitely get more into later, now that I have a pretty good view of what it was like for me, this time especially with such a long and different trip from my previous ones. For me, it was really awesome, and almost seamless. If you look at the comments of any “re-entry” or “repatriation” articles online, you’ll see a loooot of people who are truly miserable coming back. They don’t cope or deal well, get depressed, even suicidal. It’s definitely an interesting experience, and one that I found with my own, CAN be pretty well (though not entirely, no matter how much and how well you prepare) mitigated.
But before I start definitively arcing this blog away from our personal experiences with this Asia trip though, I’m going to spend some time over the next few days recapping what the return Home has been like on my end, what I’ve done, who I’ve seen, what it made me think, how I felt, and just generally what it was all like. I was going to do it today as tribute to the 3-month mark being back in the States, but I realized it’s going to take wayyyy longer to write out than I have tonight. So we’ll make it a series, and keep the blog going that little bit longer. :)
I’ve known I wanted to write this update (or “these” updates) for a while. I knew when we were leaving I’d write one last update/recap on past and current events from “the other side”, then give it some time to be able to comment with authority on what the experience of Coming Home was after all of this. I think it’ll be a fun process to finally write that, and round off this personal blog that we started with our very first entry on May 26, 2009, before evolving it into its next (professional) form.
That shall be forthcoming, soon.