…we are back.
We were ready after several days in Bangkok, most of which was spent lost, sweaty and frantically trying to check all of the to-do’s off of our list. We did, however, get to spend time with great friends and eventually got most everything done (the key was giving up on thriftiness and resigning ourselves to taking taxis); by the time Tuesday rolled around, we were all set.
Unfortunately we had separate flights, as we’d bought them at different times and I’d ended up changing mine (I can’t even imagine having come home in January as originally planned!), so Gabe was headed to the airport at 3a.m. on Wednesday morning whereas I had the luxury of a more humane 3p.m. departure time.
It was bizarre. I left Bangkok at 7p on Wednesday, arriving in Hong Kong at 11p. I left at midnight, then arrived in LA, 13 hours later, at 8p on Wednesday. Luckily I was on Cathay Pacific, quite possibly one of the most impressive airlines out there – personal screen with every movie and television show you could dream of, really good Asian food and free alcohol - so sleeping was no problem.
I knew that I was back in America as soon as I left the international terminal and headed for my domestic flight at LAX. People (they looked so big!) spaced themselves out as much as humanly possible in the waiting areas (back in the land of personal bubbles!), the dining options included Starbucks, Chilis and another Starbucks, and there was a $6.95 fee to change money (I’ll keep that 300 baht, thank you). I had to be careful when ordering from the aforementioned coffee retailer (hey, I was freezing!) and remind myself that these people actually speak English, that I don’t need to use 2-year old vocabulary to get my point across. “Have coffee? No want milk” would’ve gotten me some straaaange looks…
There was no free anything on my AA flight to DFW, but luckily it was short. We landed at 5:45a on Thursday (?) and before I knew it I was being reunited with my family, which was absolutely wonderful! After lots of greetings and stories and whatnot, my parents took me out for breakfast where I was presented with a water glass big enough to bathe in and an omelette the size of a football. Yep, I was back…
The past few days have been a whirlwind of family, friends, FOOD and trying to ease back into things, culturally and otherwise. I had Gabe back a few hours after I’d arrived, and it was nice to have someone else be as taken aback as I was at the sheer size of things here – houses, roads, food, drinks, people, prices – just incredible. We were taken out for Mexican food and decided to share a dish – between the two of us we couldn’t even finish the grilled veggies, much less touch the tortillas or beans! We were marvelling at everything; some of it disgusted us, and other things (like big, clean bathrooms!) delighted us!
It’s great to have the people that we love within reach once more, and we are excited about getting back down to our beloved city of Austin, but overall I’ve got to say that we’re both a bit bored. There are no surprises when you walk into a store, nothing to look at when you drive down the road, nothing to make you think “Wow, I’ve never seen that before!”
We’re slowly easing our way in; we’ve both done our taxes, have been scouring rental house ads, I’m back to checking my cellphone every five minutes to see if someone called and within a few days we will have forced ourselves to start thinking about… jobs. There are a lot of great things about being back and it’s fun to bring home what we’ve learned (I’ve been in Asian groceries three times already), but it’s looking like the next adventure will be much sooner than later!