I've been in America for 5 weeks. When I first got off the plane at LAX, we went to Customs where a old man behind the counter asked me, "Where ya comin' from?" I replied, "China". There's an element of respect that happens with Customs officials, where I feel it's appropriate to respond like I've been pulled over for a speeding ticket. Keep the answers short, be polite, say 'sir', minimalize eye contact.
He asked, "How long were ya there?" Looking down at my precious passport I replied, "About a year..." He stamped me back in to the United States, handed me the little blue book and said with a nod, "Welcome home". I met his smiling eyes and teared up a little. I was home.
When you think about it, "home" is a relative term. I've really enjoyed my time in the US...I'm learning to enjoy the present and to not always project satisfaction in the future. I believe this is something we must practice.
I have enjoyed the green lawns, the inside jokes between family, driving, CNN, huge worship gatherings, blue skies, the beach, spontaneous gatherings of friends, chai tea lattes, and bookstores. Far above the material differences, I've cherished the time with family and friends the most. I am immensely blessed to have incredible people pouring into my life. People that support what I do, challenge my thoughts, and share my passions. I've been in a state of gratefulness since I've been back.
I'm sorry for the blog-neglect, I have some posts lined up...one about a late night trip to the Laundromat in Monterey. Riveting material.