Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Coming Home

The secret seems to be out... I'm coming home!!!! (For a visit).

I've been counting down the weeks for the past 3 months and now it's down to just a few (hopefully short) days.  Am I excited?  Yes!  Nervous?  Yup.  I have a lot running through my head about it all.

The end of this semester completely wore me out.  I was just tired from everything.  Then the Americans came and that was the best thing ever, but I pushed myself a lot physically.  It was all worth it, but that last week was just a lot.  I've been sick since then.  I think I'm pretty much over it.  This week I've been sleeping in, watching lots of Psych & Once Upon A Time, cooking again, packing, cleaning.  It's been wonderful.  I finally feel rested and recharged.

This week has been SO needed.  I knew if I came home sick & tired that I would associate that with being here and it would make coming back really difficult.  When I'm tired I get annoyed easily and I start seeing the negative sides to being here rather than the positives.  Now that I'm rested, I realize that even though I'll only be gone for a few weeks, I'm going to miss it.  I really, really do love it here.  I love it so much that I'm cutting my time home short so I can come back here for Spring Festival (Chinese New Year).  If I get 1 year in China, there is NO way that I'm missing out on their biggest holiday.  Also, I would have been home already, but a good friend got married today and after all that she's done for me, I couldn't miss her big day.
The confetti stuff is what remains from the explosion of firecrackers.
We got breakfast!  (SO different from American weddings... not just this, but everything).

Traditional ceremony where the family members are recognized by the couple.
The bride & groom arriving at his family's home (followed by about 6 other black cars).
Groom, bride, her sis-in-law and brother.  
The beautiful bride and me!  
So the big day is coming and it's all I can think about.

I can't wait...
To be in my house.
Eat tons of food that I haven't had in the last 6 months. 
Wear cute clothes (yup, that is something to be very excited about).
Go to club with tons of 'family members' around me
Go to a store and be able to ask for things in complete english sentences and not have to look words up on my phone.
But most of all, just to spend time with the people that I've missed so much.  I don't care if we just sit in a room and say nothing; just being around them is all I need.  For a few weeks people won't just be a picture in a screen and that's going to be the best Christmas/birthday gift ever.

Coming home does mean culture shock though.  I already have it pretty bad when I'm home after being here for 3 weeks.  It's been over 6 months now so we'll see how that goes.  I've thought of plenty of things that will be different.  Plenty.  Some will make me laugh, some will probably overwhelm me, some will make me angry, some will scare me, some will be very nice and comforting.  It's going to be a fun mix.

In America:

1. Toddlers wear diapers and don't have slits in their pants so they can just squat where they want. (pro)
2. People don't put toilet paper on the table to use as a napkin. (neutral)
3. Spitting and smoking indoors aren't acceptable. (pro)
4. Delicious street food isn't on every corner. (con)
5. There are stores where you can get almost everything you want... like Target. (pro)
6. Shopping for clothes is SO much easier. (pro)
7. People don't order multiple dishes to just share.  Everyone gets their own thing. (con)
8. People speak english (pro - for convenience)
9. It's not legal to put 13 people in an 8 passenger van. (con... it's fun that way)
10. People don't stare at me because I'm white. (Oh wait, yeah they do because I'm REALLY white... just not like they do here).

Pros & cons.  I've got even more but don't feel like listing them ALL.  We'll see how it all measures up.  I'm prepared for the negatives of being home and I'm scared that leaving again will be even harder.  For round 2 I know what I'm getting into though.  I know where I'm living, how to live, more language than I did when I came here, what I want to accomplish.  I have friends here.  I get to dance here.  I LOVE the food.  There are a lot of great things I get to come back to.  The best part?  This will be my last goodbye.  Next time I jump on the series of planes to make the million hour journey back to America, I'll be staying for quite a while.

I might post while I'm home.  I highly doubt it though  If you read this, you're probably going to see me at some point.  Weird isn't it?

See you soon America!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Let Them Rejoice

"In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of [the Father] over one sinner who repents."

Let the angels rejoice then, because I have a new sister!

One of the girls I've been learning with since the beginning of the term has made so many statements in the last few weeks that I just had to meet up with her before we both left for the break.  I had to know where she was at.  I don't want to list all of the details on here, I'll do that when I'm home.  The details don't even matter in the long run.  We have a new sister; a beautiful woman who is already inspiring me with her dedication and her joy.

I left her with some things to read and made sure to speak over her and her family as she gets ready to head home for about 2 months.  I cannot wait to dig deeper with her when we both come back for next term.

No matter what happened this year, I knew I'd leave feeling like I'd done what I was supposed to do.  This though, this is a huge cherry on top of an already delicious sundae.  It might actually be the whole sundae and everything else is just the cherry on top.  I like cherries, so I would have been fine with just that, but who is going to complain about a whole sundae coming with it?  NOT ME!