I want to go home.
Don't get me wrong, I don't want to move back home.
I just want to go home for a while.
I am burned out from work and Taiwan. I think that's probably normal. I get burned out every year teaching because teaching is an intense + demanding job. It's performing everyday, all day. It's dealing with the unexpected left and right [middle schoolers are good at throwing curve balls]. And being an expat is kinda like that too. Both can become a bit exhausting.
It has been 450 days since I last was home in the Pacific Northwest with my family and friends. That's a long time. And when I was last home, it was not a joyous occasion. It was a spur of the moment, panic induced trip and the darkest of dark times when my father very suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. It didn't feel good and it didn't feel nice and going home should be both of those things because I have a great home and a great family.
Being an expat is a wondrous, difficult thing. Right now Taiwan is my home but it will never be my home home. I still go out into the streets some days, look around and wonder where the heck am I?. I still get completely and utterly lost. I still cannot understand more than five phrases. I still don't know my own address in English. It's such a bizarre life that sometimes still doesn't even feel real.
What I need more than anything is to go back to where I come from and reconnect with my past life. To drive down roads I know so well because I've driven down them, all the way down them, so many times before. To wake up in a familiar room in a familiar house. To see my family and friends and build new memories. To go back to places that left a huge mark on my life and stand there and remember that it was all real, that it was all my life at one point in time, because after being in Asia for nearly two years it's almost hard to concretely remember what day to day life was like before.
What it was like to understand every conversation around me. To be able to read every sign and menu and price tag. To answer the phone and not have someone hang up on you because they dialed the wrong number and cannot speak English. To walk down the street invisible because you don't stick out like a sore thumb. To actually get behind the wheel of a car rather than hop on a scooter. To be able to call up my mom and go shopping and have lunch together on a whim.
Yesterday, my school asked me for our preferred travel dates this summer. One of the huge perks of international teaching is free round trip airfare home and back. My school offers this perk every other summer and that means this summer we are going home! We plan on spending seven weeks in the Pacific Northwest, spending time with our families, gorging on all the food we miss and partaking in several of our summer traditions, mainly road trips with either the beach or mountains as the destination.
I cannot wait to hug my mom + brother and love on Zeus, his dog. I cannot wait to meander all around my favorite little towns. I cannot wait to call my friends and chat whenever I want and then make plans to have dinner with them because they are 30 minutes away rather than an ocean away. I cannot wait to go grocery shopping and to five billion of my favorite restaurants. I cannot wait to walk into Barns and Nobles and then not leave for five days. I cannot wait to walk through forests and along pristine beaches and smell fresh, salty sea air and watch the sun set over the Olympic Mountains. I cannot wait to drive with the windows down and heater on and music blasting. I cannot wait for loooong summer days and bright starry nights. I cannot wait to hear fog horns and ride ferries and be in all of the places that made me me.
I am officially starting the countdown: 109 days and I simply cannot wait!!!