Home. A four letter word, but not in the usual sense. It's hard to describe how it feels to be back. I was far more excited to return than I ever thought I would be. All of my life I have been waiting for my next big trip...planning another adventure. This time I was anxious to come home and ready to stay there. But, when the plane finally landed (24 hours after it left...ugh) I felt a mix of emotions...relief, excitement, and a bit of sadness that my life in Asia was now in the past. There were times where I hated living in Asia, I cursed their "backwards" ways and longed for a taste of home more than once. Now, I want to go back and I may just find myself heading to Chinatown as a refuge from the outside world.
Some things I've noticed since coming home:
1. People are loud. Everybody sounds like they are yelling all the time. There is no quiet calm anywhere it seems.
2. Serving sizes and the people who eat said serving sizes, are much bigger. I'm sure this isn't correct but I get the impression that everyone is a little overweight. Comparatively that is.
3. People here are very anal about personal space. This one is funny because when I first moved to Korea I would have said the same thing about them. There is no personal space in Korea. Here, there is so much that it seems everyone is forever calculating the greatest space to distance ratio in order to stand/shop/sit accordingly. Yesterday I stood behind some guy in line at the grocery store and had obviously miscalculated. I was too close and he let me know it with a look. I could have had my hand in his back pocket in Korea and he wouldn't have cared...or noticed.
4. There is a lot of stuff here and everybody wants it. Buy stuff, wear stuff, carry stuff, eat stuff, sell stuff, collect stuff, clean stuff and drive stuff.
5. On the upside, it's beautiful. I mean "take your breath away, shed a tear" stunning. We drove in from the airport and all we could see was a giant blue sky...like a blanket over the whole earth. The fields were turning from green to gold and the mountains were etched in the horizon in the distance. It really is the most beautiful country I have ever seen.
6. Everything is clean and well-organized. It lacks some character this way because every intersection has the same shops and stores as all the other streets but it's "nice".
7. The toilets flush. And you can sit on them.
8. People, for the most part, have no idea what Asia is like and cannot begin to understand what the last year of my life has been like. They also don't really care all that much. I'm home and that's what matters.
9. The public transportation here sucks compared to Asia. Taxis are expensive and everyone just drives.
10. And finally, but most importantly, it's home.
I have mixed feelings about being back but I'm here and I don't really have a choice. It's very nice to see my family again and it's really relaxing to be able to speak English and function so easily. I am going to give myself the time it will take to get "re-acquainted" and then see how I feel. But right now, I would kill for a bowl of tchenjon chegay and an hour at a bath house.