I should have made note of where I left off in my narrative before returning to China, where I can’t see what I have and have not written! However, I have made notes and, as is my habit once I write up a topic I’ve made notes on, I write either ‘done’ or put a giant check mark by the notes dealing with that topic. So, I have a rough idea of what I’ve covered. Should I by chance report double – repeat an entry, please overlook it. Maybe I’ve written something new that I neglected to include in a previously posted passage.
While I’m at it, let me share my feeling with you, as the Chinese say.
A thought/feeling came to me that I never expected: I wondered, for the first time, if across the ocean is truly where I belong.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my life over here and I love learning new things about the culture. In fact, I love the culture and writing all about it, and sharing those musings with you. I am in fact happy to be back here, even though the school year doesn’t start for another month.
I think was is getting to me this time, this homecoming is that, while stateside I spent my time with loved ones exclusively. I did not travel around, take any circuitous routes, buses or anything that would in any way delay or hinder my spending time with those my heart holds dear. Once with them, each in turn, there was not that wild carousel of going here and there, seeing, doing and getting worn out. As such, being surrounded and filled and suffused with the joy of those precious to me from coast to coast I had little time to miss all of the things that endear me to China.
And now I find myself missing my American ‘side’ all the more, for all the time spent with them. Though I rationalize that, if I returned to America to live, I would most likely not have the freedom that my current circumstances provide me. I would not have the quality of life I enjoy here, and I would have to take care of myself rather than have a Sam or a Gary make all of my arrangements for me and shepherd me through my various toils and travels. Still I miss waking up every day to Little Bunbun’s cries and Gabriel’s teases and KatKat’s mischief.
It was wonderful to enjoy my visit while it lasted, but I have to get it through my head that a visit does not a permanent situation make. Bun will not always coo and smile toothlessly. Gabriel is going to move into his tweens this year. Kat is going to daycare. While, in itself the kids growing up is not bad or wrong, my expecting things to remain as they were during my visit, and to have all of the free time and leisure to spend with them is.
Another challenge: both of my kids live on either side of the country and most of my friends live geographically in between. Where to settle down, should I even contemplate returning? How to get back on my feet?
No, I’m just missing them, I conclude. It is just a matter of so much of a good thing making me wish I could enjoy that moment in time forever. In my heart and mind, I will. By and for all practical purposes, here is where I am, where I live and, as I’ll find again when the school year starts, where I belong.