In less than 24 hours, I’ll be home. Well, not home, but you get the point.
I’ve already been in airports so many times this year. I’ve been exhausted, scrambling to make my flights to other cities in China or to Hong Kong, but this is the first time I’m feeling the butterflies that I used to feel about flying somewhere far away and unknown. Except I’m actually flying somewhere overwhelmingly familiar. To be honest, the past year, I’ve started to sort of resent going to Chinese airports, because they’re empty, there are no decent food courts (just give me a Dunkin’ Donuts!), and none of the flights leave on time. I keep on being brought back to my flight to Shanghai, and the 24-hour United nightmare that turned out to be. But honestly, by this point, I’ve been through much worse.
Coming home will be so wonderful. I’m excited to have fast internet. I’m excited to drink the tap water. I’m excited to buy real allergy medicine. I’m excited just to go to Walgreens. I’m excited, because these banal things are no longer banal for me. I look at them the same way I look at buying Sesame Soy Milk, or picking up street food chuanr late at night in Shanghai.
But more than anything, coming home shows me that I feel that I’m not ready to leave China permanently. One year is too short to have lived here. I still love coming home to my apartment every night. I still love the sense of danger I have when eating street food (which doesn’t make me sick about 80% of the time anymore). I think that’s a good thing.
My flight is leaving in three hours. New York City -> Los Angeles -> New Haven. Go.