Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Fish Out of Water

I stopped writing on the "Shanghai Shenanigans" blog because the title and content was suddenly not relevant. But I have missed writing my thoughts down and sharing things with you all.  I always wonder if anyone is reading my blog and then I will meet one of peytons cousins or someone in our ward who mentions how they read every post. My friend recently told me that it is a great modern day journal. I like that. Since apparently I am too lazy to actually just sit down and write with a pen. Millenials, a pen is something you hold between your fingers and ink appears while you write on the paper. You're welcome.

I wish I could say that moving home was cheerful and easy and that we adjusted with ease. But the truth is, moving home was a lot harder than I ever anticipated. At the time, I was very ready to go home but I also had not visited America in about 9 months so the thoughts of coming home were bursting with skipping through Costco and gorging on In-N-Out. I had thought about all the fun things I had missed and the people I wanted to hug. But I had not thought of the logistics and the small stuff you forget about. We got off the plane and suddenly we were met with phone plans, medical insurance paperwork, and DMV appointments. Ohhhh- the DMV. The thought of going there made me want to run away. I just wanted to stay at home and reintroduce myself to trashy American TV again, while eating cookie butter by the spoonful. Is that too much to ask?!

The little things were a bit harder than they used to be. The first time I went to the grocery store I was elated and like a kid in a candy store. I perused the aisles about 3 times just looking at all the things. The prices! So cheap, so wonderful. I no longer have to spend all of peytons paycheck on cheese! And then I had to look and see all the new things that were invented since I had been gone. Butterfinger bits for cookies?! Chocolate cheerios?! To-go packs of Nutella?! I. Must. Buy. One. I need to try it. But then I had to actually pull out my list and this is where things got complicated. I started sweating. How in the world does someone choose between all the salsas?! In China we had one choice and you either bought it or you didn’t. I had to look at the ounces, price match, and ingredients. I had to discover how to go to the grocery store all over again. Ohhh look, Reeses peanut butter cookie bars.

And then theres Samantha. Of course she adjusted the greatest out of all of us. Kids these days. I don’t even think she remembers China, although every once in awhile I see her lingering a gaze at a Chinese person and having a moment of detection. Or like the time she pointed at a Chinese lady and screamed “Look, its AYI!” (Our beloved housekeeper while in China).

But then the learning process began of how to become a mom in America. Remember, Samantha was born in China so I never had to do the whole car seat drill of them falling asleep in-between errands. “DON’T CLOSE YOUR EYES WE ARE ALMOST AT TARGET! LOOK A SQUIRREL! A TREE!” I know these seem like small discoveries but there’s a learning curve, for sure.

However, there are wonderful things about America that I am so glad to be reunited with once again. Talking to strangers in public. Because I can. Because I know English and they know English, and we should DEFINITELY be friends. Being able to access the internet unfiltered, uncensored and fast -fast -fast. My family. My dear family, who I have missed spending time with. My freedom. Living in a communist country introduces you to a whole new appreciation for your citizenship. I hold my passport with pride more so now than I ever did before. But, there’s always a snag. I miss the adventure. I miss walking down the street and not knowing what I would see. What crazy environment would I experience today? What culture could I learn from? Peyton and I missed it so much, we went on our first date night in America to grab some dumplings. Old habits die hard.

Life was never dull in China. Sometimes, I actually wish it ‘d been duller. There was surprise after surprise. Disbelief, astonishment and absorbing all day, every day. The ease and simplicity and FAMILIARITY in America is so refreshing. So although, things are distinctive here and the adjustment was a bit tougher than I expected, America is beautiful. This is my place. These are my people. This is where I fit. I will be forever grateful for my stay in China because it taught me a new culture, environment, and experience. But what I am the most grateful for, is it showed me how strong I am and how I can adapt to many different things and places. I see my home in America with a greater appreciation than before I left. Isn’t that what it is all about? You know what they say…absence makes the heart grow fonder. I totally agree!