Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Being Home

I've been back in the U.S. for almost two weeks now. I've filled two suitcases, had multiple delicious meals, visited as many family and friends as weather and health issues allow, and just generally had a lovely time.

It always amazes me how many people are willing to help make my visit home something like jumping into a mosh pit of comfort and love. Pam, who uncomplainingly picks me up at Dulles and then drives me to Silver Spring, Bill and Carol, who have "my room" ready for me and who bring me to BWI. Bill and Jen, who not only let me stay in their home but who give me a business class ticket home.  My brother Tom, who picks me up at the airport and who does so much to take care of my mother. My sister Lori, who thinks nothing of popping over from New Hampshire, and who understands all. My brother Glenn, who upgrades my Kindle. The people at my mother's church, who tell me they have me on their prayer lists. My mother's church, where I can sing Christmas carols and soak in the peace of a small town.

So many friends, who make time in their lives for breakfast, coffee, lunch, dinner, shopping, tea, walks, and phone calls. The friends who are gracious when I don't have the time to see them this time. The friends whom I could tell, "Next time, I'm staying at your house" and they wouldn't blink an eye. The ones who, like Patti and Ron as well as Bill and Jen, put together dinners. The ones who, like Susan, decide it's time for the Janney moms of Daniel's grade to get together. The Roll Call buddies who are happy to have drinks.

I won't be sad to get back to Bob and family back in Beijing, and to start planning our next adventures, with the distinct sense that if the first year flew by that fast, the next two years will also go as fast as a Beijing taxi driver racing to the airport. But I'm cherishing these moments: quiet jogs as I listen to NPR, sunsets with clear skies, grocery stores full of every imaginable food, downloading the New Yorker in two minutes flat, and so much cheese.

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