I’m here at Reagan National Airport in DC. 23 hours* left of zombie-like travel through a fully sun-lit twilight zone of time on the way back to Taiwan. Even though it’s only the start of my third voyage of such magnitude, it’s gotten less hopelessly endless feeling since the first flight out last summer.
After a quick year one abroad (well..just about) it’s been nice to come back to America in all it’s summertime glory to reconnect with some of the most appreciated people in my life. Not unbound from the human experience, I find that growing up, getting older, and living elsewhere slowly drives this reality (not quite a wedge) of time and differences between me and those I consider myself close to.
But I find such changes to be necessary. I can imagine that without them we can have no memories, only stagnant realities that would pale in comparison to vivid perceptions of our past.
I also expectedly find that three weeks is a short time when you’re not sure the next time you’ll get back home-home. I’m guessing about two years at this point. But the trip has been undeniably great. And it’s proven once again that I’ve got alot to be thankful for. For starters, the onslaught of Maryland seafood has been nice, along with trips to Ocean City, the old summer haunt, and those familiar little culinary establishments of Americana that really just can’t be replaced by any other culture’s.
Going a little deeper – the time with friends was irreplaceable. If you are a close friend, you know how much I value reconnecting, staying connected, and seeking out where you’re living in hiding and forcing you to hang out with me, or begging you to make your way over to meet up. What can I say, it’s a gift. Hunting such characters only in Maryland, where I decided to limit myself to for the sake of quality time, reduced that quantity some. But I was still blessed immensely by being able to see so many. Even made it for a wedding of two good friends at my old home church (shout out to Sunnyside for the genuinely-appreciated intentional prayers and support). With that, I got to see a bunch of great people I wouldn’t have otherwise seen, many from Georgia where I didn’t road trip for time’s sake. Even got to see some of the recent grads/studs from my old hall when I was an RA in college. Good times, friends.
Despite those necessary changes brought about by the unstoppable progress of time, it’s nice when good old memories are supported with unexpected new ones – even if those realities and experiences in the past can never be redone.
Likewise, my time with the family was equally fulfilling. Spent alot of QT with mom at the beach and at the ever-growing
compound where they live. The following are new supplements to life at said compound: an addition of a garage and a beach room, a still-forming cannery, chickens, and exciting ambitions for future ministry. Nothing boring there. And then there’s dad’s new 34-ft live-aboard sailboat. Since both of us have never (ever) sailed or lived on a boat, this was an adventure by default. Both the first time either of us took it out or sailed it happened during this trip, and despite all the sailing lessons falling through, we managed to avoid capsizing and sped along at 7 knots down the bay. Success! Thanks parents for proving that even pseudo-retirement and old age (just being honest!) should be filled with first times and new territory.
This story of revisiting home is obviously ridden with optimism. I find that all my posts turn out that way even though daily life isn’t always so cut and dry. I’m going to go ahead and say focusing on that’s a positive thing. Heh. But it has been a short time here, and it was a short time where I was hoping for alot – strength and motivation for year two of community building and ministry in Taipei most notably (Not to mention learning Chinese, teaching kids ..anything, and all the etcetera). It’s a big responsibility being part of such a great thing, and motivation and recharging are just the start of what I needed. I think I got part of all I sought and prayed for. I hope I did; time will tell. Maybe it didn’t come in all the ways I was thinking, but I’m hard pressed to say this was anything but a refreshing, fulfilling time. Pardon my abstractions – they’re how I process. Just consider yourself privileged to see the process. 🙂
In all it was great being in this land of roadtrips/old friends/family/cereal/seafood done right/extroverted strangers and more that will always be my first home. And flushing toilet paper again was oh-so-rewarding.
I can only hope the next time home will be half as meaningful.
* The one thing I need to add to this otherwise airport-contrived post is the uncertainty of travel. My expected 23 hours turned into schedule-redefining 47 when a delayed flight and mechanical problems landed me a whole day’s layover in Chicago. With the addition of a free hotel to the optimism needed to enjoy such an opportunity, I claimed it as a free day-cation to a city I’d never been to before. So here’s to unexpected adventures! …And trying to avoid United Airlines next time!