I’m going home really soon. Incredibly freaking soon. Actually, as you’re reading this I am most likely suspended in mid-air somewhere over the Pacific Ocean between Beijing and Vancouver.
Hooray! Right? Sort of? I don’t know.
For the past couple of weeks I’ve been vacillating wildly from super excitement to abject fear. I’ll see a picture of a hamburger online, you know a real thick juicy one, and I can’t wait to get home and order one myself. Then I’ll think about all of the responsibilities that come with being home, the idea of having to explain to a hundred and one people what I’m doing with my life, and I want nothing more than to run away forever. Then, in the middle of the night I’ll wake up and, just for a moment, think I’m in my childhood bedroom, and then the home sickness comes flooding in.
I think it’s safe to say I’m confused. And my confusion has onion-like layers to it:
On the surface I’m pretty psyched to head back to the states! I’ve been in East Asia for the better half of 9 months, and well, I’m pretty Asia-ed out. Don’t get me wrong- Asia is still cool, and there is a lot I still haven’t see and long to return to, but for now, I’m ready to retire my chopsticks. If you follow me on twitter or facebook you’ll keep hearing me say how I miss cheese, and while that’s mainly me just complaining, it’s also symbolic of a lot of things I miss about home that can’t be found in China. Cupcakes! Fresh air! Babies wearing pants!
Part of me is afraid though. For the past 9 months I’ve been living a life that is truly and authentically me. I have been free of all of those historical restraints, of the person I once was. Will that all fade away when I get home? What if I forget who I am and all the things I’ve been working for? What if I fall back into “normal” life?
I think anyone who has been abroad, or even just away from home for a long period of time can understand this. I remember having the same tugging misgivings when I came home from college for the first time. The very fact that I have that fear makes me think I will probably do anything necessary to make sure that doesn’t happen, but the feat is still there.
Deep down below that is another primal truth: I miss home. I miss my family; a part of me feels terrible for missing out on all of their joys and sorrows over the past 9 months. I miss my cat, and my bed, and the other night I felt a deep and desperate longing for my old teddy bear. I realize that’s probably not the most evolved emotion, but there it is.
Ultimately though, I’m confident in my decision to head home. Going through my trip photos the other morning, I started to feel really amazed. You kind of forget when you’re living your life day to day, but I’ve done a LOT since September that I’m really proud of. I really do think that a rest is what is needed right now. The fact that it’s only temporary, a break before I start other projects (some of which you guys don’t even know about yet!), is comforting as well. I’m going home, but I’m still moving forward.