Thanks all for the food suggestions – I have definitely taken some of them – who knew y’all could get so excited about food?
Re-entry is jarring – objects re-entering the earth’s atmosphere get all fiery, and in my head I picture video footage of the old space programs where the capsules would plunge into the ocean. So maybe my re-entry isn’t that crazy, but it has felt strange.
I’ve been home for 2 weeks exactly – and I think for sure the first week was tough. Each morning I’d wake up in the mornings still thinking in Cantonese, or being a little confused about where I was. It didn’t help that my circadian rhythms were totally off and I was waking up at 6am and getting hungry at 2am… The week was like beginning to wake up from a really pleasant dream – you know you’re waking up, but you want to stay asleep because it’s nice and comfy in your dream world … but not your real life.
In dream life, family was all around, I had no responsibilities, and wonderful food was everywhere. But my real life is here in Austin, a city of less than a million with marginal public transportation, and where I live 1500 miles from the nearest family member. Just a little different.
But don’t get me wrong, there is lots to experience in real life. It was nice to feel missed… to have people say “I’m glad you’re back!” Even if I was still ramping up to ‘being glad to be back.’ And there are good things here too – I like my house and my friends and community here. It was great to be back at church and at small group. Friends have eased the ‘waking up’ process by listening to my stories, looking at my pictures, and asking good questions. And I’m taking a seminary class that I really like.
It is a new day.
I have 4 days left of sabbatical. It has flown by. I still miss Hong Kong a lot, but I want to be excited to see how my experience there impacts my ‘real life’ here. I want to know how to ‘belong’ to my extended family even living 8,279 miles away.
A friend said that they used to refer to some of their fellow IV staff as pre-sabbatical so-and-so, and then post-sabbatical so-and-so. I think I’m beginning to understand or feel why. I feel different – perhaps because I know more of where I come from, who I am, and by God’s grace, more of who I’m created me to be.
So say we all.
-yes, I am a nerd. I also watch Lost. What the heck is going there?