Thursday, June 23, 2011

Notes on Returning "Home"

It feels so good to be back in America. It is a feeling I don't understand. I have left and returned 4 times in the last year and each time that my plane set down on U.S. soil I felt a physical sense of well-being. Strange, I think.

It is picture-perfect in Idaho. Clear blue skies which seem clearer and bluer coming from Taiwan. It was 95 degrees yesterday, and that feels oh-so-much cooler than Taiwan due to the incredibly low humidity.

As I was riding to my Dad's house I could smell Russian Olive trees. I have always loved their scent but never been as keenly aware of it as I was yesterday. It is as though all of my senses are reawakened now that I am home. Or perhaps it is just the lack of the overwhelming smell of stinky tofu.

Going to the grocery store yesterday was even amazing. It reminded me of stories I've heard of people who grow up in extremely poor countries such as Africa where they eat one thing day after day, year after year. I've heard that when they walk into an American grocery store they are overwhelmed by the plethora of choices. While certainly nowhere near that extreme experience, I nevertheless was in awe of all of the things I could choose to buy. I was hard pressed not to fill 3 shopping carts full of all of the things I've missed since moving to Taiwan. Thankfully, Anna was with me and she kept me on track for the most part.

Speaking of Anna and the grocery store, I realized while there how much she has grown and matured. She was actually helpful. And cheerful. It was wonderful. I told her how much I appreciated her help and the checkout lady also told her how helpful she was. Nice for her to hear it from both of us, I think.

Recovering from jet lag seems to be a particularly challenging obstacle this time. If, as in the past, it was just me it would be okay because I am quite good at functioning with little to no sleep. But the kids are really putting a new wrinkle in the process for me. We all fell asleep early last evening (Anna at 6:00, Ethan and I about 8:00) and we were all awake by 11:30 - p.m.! We all got up and ate something and now the kids are playing in the back room - as far from Grandpa as I can get them. Every few minutes I remind them to PLEASE be as quiet as possible. For once I am hoping that my Dad's hearing is poor.


jmw said...

Does America seem overweight to you? That was what struck me coming back from Japan, and that was in 1995.

bristowmom said...

Yes, and no. I have been surprised to see a lot of very overweight Taiwanese so I don't think it's just an American problem. I think it's a problem of affluence.

Joshua Rogers said...

Good point (your comment).