Mama, We're Coming Home
Trip Start Aug 20, 2011
38Trip End Jun 29, 2012
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As we began packing up our dorm to prepare to come back to the U.S
Students began bringing us gifts and stopping by to say good-bye to us weeks before we left. It was a range of emotions that final week. We were so excited to go home and see everyone, but it was a strange feeling to be leaving the students we had come to love. A stranger feeling to think of living a life where you turned on the faucet and could drink it, have hot water, and not have the water shoot out onto your bathroom floor. How did we take a shower before we came to China? How did we cook? Do you really need anything else than one induction burner and a wok? Interesting. If we wanted to go out to eat, how did we leave? How did we communicate with people to tell them what we wanted? Maybe it seems like odd questions to most people, but when you become so accustomed to having to put so much thought in your daily living, the conveniences of America become a distant past memory in no time
To go back home, we each had two large rolling suitcases, a carry-on, and Debbie's purse. Everything weighted down to the max. We were taking a bus from Jieyang that crossed the border straight into Hong Kong. From there, the next morning we would be taking a plane back to Chicago. Usually, we would have to take a bus to Shenzhen, the bordering city of Hong Kong. Then we would have to go through many lines and hauling our stuff through the distance between the borders would be very difficult. Without heavy items, it usually took an hour. After we would cross into Hong Kong, we would have to then take everything on the subway system for about an hour and change to 3-4 different trains. So, we were thrilled to take the bus that crossed over the border and would drop us very close to our guesthouse in Hong Kong. We only had to haul our stuff a few minutes through the border and get back on the bus. This was not very fun, but a lot better than the alternative. As we officially crossed into Hong Kong the last time, Debbie became a little emotional at the thought of going home. Of course, we both looked behind us one last time and felt relieved. We made it.
In natural Chinese expectancy, we learned that our flight the next morning was already going to be delayed by 8 hours. The next morning our flight was delayed 14 hours. Thankfully, we were in Hong Kong. There is a lot to do so at least we ate good food and saw some more cool stuff
The first couple of weeks seemed like the ever famous saying that you hear everywhere in Asia, "Same Same, but different." Everything was the same from before we left, yet everything felt so different. I can't explain the elation we felt when we had a surprise visit from Debbie's sister from Kansas and her husband show up at our doorstep, or the feeling when we saw our exhausted parents's faces holding signs welcoming us back to America at the airport. It was so awesome that we got to see and spend time with Steve's father and younger brother from Arizona. We got to have a real BBQ with steaks and everything at Debbie's brother's house
We have had some personal and professional hiccups in this decision, but we are happy with our decision. If there is one thing that we took away with us from our experiences in China is that we take many things for granted here in the U.S
So here we are. Some days we romanticize China and kick ourselves for not taking the 3 year contract we were offered in Guangzhou. We can now laugh at the times when we were unable to be understood by people and had to act out what we needed. (Note to everyone out there: Be sure to learn Toilet in any language and learn it well. Acting it out is pretty embarrassing.) But mostly, we understand that it was a learning experience and at many times, quite difficult. We really miss Asia in general and cannot wait to get back there. I think it will still be some time before we put China back on the list of "must sees" but the long list of other destinations we would not have even known existed until now is endless. We wouldn't trade this experience for anything else in the world.
Thanks to everyone for following us and thank you for your support while we gone. Thank you even more to those who decided to still support us when we returned. We love you all. This was truly our excellent adventure.