Welp, I'm back. Sitting in my semi-warm apartment in Wuhan, listening to various construction noises that are pounding their way through my doors and windows despite the fact that it's a Saturday morning. Jetlag has mostly worked it's way out of my system, but I'll confess that every time I cross the Pacific I swear that I NEVER want to do it again. I think I actually enjoyed jetlag my first year in China--it was a new experience and I was amazed at how it effected me and my body. Now, well, I'm over it. It's tiresome and boring and makes me feel soo discombobulated and icky. I suppose a little of the magic is gone for me! hahah.
All grouchiness aside, I'm very grateful to be back here. This is my final round in China, and after a great rest at home I feel much more ready to seize it, enjoy every moment (ok, maybe every moment sans jetlag!) and really live it up while I'm here. I love China, I love my friends, and I love being here. I'm really thankful for the life I've been given.
I don't have much to share...am actually wondering if this blog has become a bit redundant. I've lived here for so long that it sometimes feels as if there's not much new to reflect on in this online diary. But here are a few things:
I brought home a bunch of my books and exchanged them for some new ones to bring back with me. I've been flipping through some of them, and it's funny how being far from home in another country makes you value silly things. Like a receipt for stamps that I found stuck into an old book as a bookmark. It's from the Green Hills post office in Nashville--I bought a book of first class stamps for $14.76 on July 12, 2007. In the States, I'd just toss it into the garbage--but for some reason here, I find myself getting melodramatically nostalgic and poetic, holding it in my hand like a treasure; "This is from America. This is from my old life." hahaha--I'm TOTALLY exaggerating, but it's a tiny bit like that for a split second when I find these things! I never end up throwing them away, just placing them back where they were found and realizing briefly how unconsciously there are so many little things that I miss.
This year I didn't bring back my usual suitcase packed with a year's supply of U.S. goodies: toothpaste and favorite candy or tea, lotions, beauty supplies, cooking supplies etc. I just kind of figured that I've learned to "make do" fairly well without so many of the items I used to "need" from the States, that I might as well keep it up. Plus, and this is the more likely explanation, I didn't want to bring back so much luggage this time!
I've discovered that when I'm feeling out of place, my coping mechanisms are 1) must-see TV and 2) driving/riding around aimlessly staring out of the window. My dvds of Friends, The Office, and 30 Rock are lifesavers--I'm not one who likes a tv going at all times, but when I am going through anything emotional, I'll admit that my first reaction is to have shows that make me smile and laugh running whenever I'm hanging out in the living room. They help pull me out of my own head. Also, I already shared that my primary activity when I was first back in the States was just driving around...and now that I'm back in China, I've spent a few of my spare hours riding around on the buses, just staring out at all of Wuhan and reorienting myself. I like this. Maybe I'm a bit more introverted than I thought, because these solitary activities help me to be more ready for social time with people--it clears up all the wandering thoughts crammed into my head!
Finally, I've noticed that I've totally stopped trying to decipher all the ways in which China is different from the U.S. Maybe I'm just bored with the activity, or maybe I've just gotten to know it well enough to know that there's no real comparison. Stupid cliche: it's apples and oranges. Or apples and green beans. Or apples and doornobs. Whatever the case, it seems I'm done with trying to attempt it.
Those are my random thoughts from my first week back! I'm excited to share over the next months what the Father will do with my final term in China and what He reveals as the plan for the next chapter of my life! Please Lift me Up if you read this, that I can be focused while here and that I can have the eyes to see what should come next!
PS...in case you wondered, the back to the future reference is just because Wuhan is 13 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time...so I'm always in the "future" while over here. It's silly...but it's a joke I never stop using. ;)
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