534 days later…here we are..on an Aer Lingus flight home. The in-flight movies are lame and the Aer Lingus crew seems to chime in tryin to sell duty free items every 5 minutes so its really not worth it anyway. So, I’m sitting here with just my thoughts…for 9 hours. The thing is…there’s a lot to think about. We’re going home…we’re going to see everyone, we’re getting married (officially), thanksgiving, my 31st bday, Christmas….our next job…oyy. With all that though, I’m somewhere else right now.
Don’t get me wrong….there is nowhere in the world I would rather be than on this plane heading back to Orlando to be with friends and family again. It’s more of a bittersweet feeling that’s been building ever since we journeyed back across Germany to return the RV a few days ago. It’s the knowledge of knowing that a great chapter has reached its final verse. Knowing that tomorrow, I wake up in a familiar place, with loved ones, everyone speaks English….and I can sit back comfortably knowing what happens from moment to moment. There was a time when knowing what was next all the time was a good thing for me. The idea of being in total control seemed like the way to go.
This experience being away in places where I have only been in control of a very small part of things has been different than expected. I think I might have mentioned it in the blog I wrote when leaving Asia about the thrill of uncertainty. It’s strange…I started to like waking up knowing that there is a good chance that I will either have a totally embarrassing, uplifting, enlightening, or scary experience within the next two to three hours of my life at any given moment. Sure, in Korea we had a routine…but it really was limited to our breakfast time…after that…who knew? Especially in my classrooms…that was a complete debacle most days. Now, imagine that for over 4 months…everyday.
It was hard to embrace at times. Like walking through an intersection in Hanoi… thinking before you take you first step of how much medical coverage you currently have…and if the camera would survive. The language barriers, stares, and the overwhelming want to just know how to do something was inescapable from time to time.
Even still….it was a rush, it was exciting and it never got boring. Not even for a second. I can honestly say that in the past year and a half I was bored so few times that I really can’t even tell you when they were. I was constantly learning, experiencing and living in the moment….almost simply because it was hard not too.
I can’t wait to be home to relax and figure out whats next for us. But, I will miss the little encounters that made everything come into focus for me along the way. A toast with an elderly Vietnamese man symbolizing new friendships across generations…stories from McDonalds workers in Austria about their ten gallon hats and dreams of a trip to Tennessee. The welling sense of pride when a South Korean man asked where I was from in his best English to which he proclaimed with great excitement…that my country, the United States was the best in the world. The families and friends in the Netherland, Switzerland, and Malaysia that made us feel at home with them while they shared their culture with us so graciously.
Finally, I had Nicole with me. How special it was for me to know that not only had I found an amazing wife and friend….but someone that could travel the world with me and not want to let go! We grounded each other and laughed more than 2 sane people should…and at things that no sane people do.
It was all amazing and as I sit here on my way home….I think of it all, sit back, and smile. We hope you enjoyed our story and promise that its only just starting 😉