Monday, January 1, 2018

Returning to America 6: On Being Home

Sunset in San Diego

I write this now back at my place in Yangon having arrived here yesterday on the first day of 2018. Now, I can write about the vacation in the past tense. 

My emotions were all scrambled during my time back in America. It was so easy and comfortable being with my family. Hanging out with my parents, however much they may squabble with each other, however bad Mom’s driving may be, however much I’m restrained by the propriety of being a guest, it still feels completely natural. Nothing feels more normal than being home.  

Mom driving badly
And then there was my interactions with other Americans, people I didn’t know. If you haven’t been an expat living in a foreign country for years and years, I don’t think you could understand the profundity of being able to interact and communicate with everyone you meet.. Whereas Californians have a reputation of being somewhat standoffish, the wonderful meetings I had with random strangers  were delightful.  It felt great being in a place where everyone else was to some extent like me. 

It makes me reconsider a question that frequently comes up. It’s a question every long-term overseas teacher faces. When and under what circumstances would you return home? Most of us in my new career travel from country to country, exploring the world with no thought about going back to our home countries. The longer one is away from home, the less one misses it. Having been home, I realize I do miss it. 

On the other hand, life in the USA for me was difficult. I wouldn’t expect it to be otherwise if I returned. I say in the video “Payday loans. I remember those.” Yeah because it was a struggle living paycheck to paycheck, unable to save money and that financial struggle being the cause of so much stress and uncertainty. Here overseas, the living is easy and I’m saving money. At 47
years of age, these are things I need to think about.

More reflections on the video you’re about to watch: I got my folks to take a detour from the direct path from Temecula to San Diego in order to visit the northernmost manifestation of San Diego Mexican food: the Roberto’s in Oceanside. I was so looking forward to consuming food from one of the –Berto’s, and the carne asada burrito and 3 rolled with guac did not disappoint. 

In the video, you’ll see glimpses of my mother, sister, one of my nephews and my brother-in-law. The song in the background is that of a former partner of mine. 

1 comment:

  1. I feel happy and sad for you. Happy you were able to have time with your family, but sad that you're already gone back to where you feel is home. Even so, may 2018 be your best year, ever! Happy New Year! Blessings, Lynn



I thought I was going to retire there. I was the senior staff member. I'd been there longer than anyone. It. Is. Not. Fair.  But on the ...