Time to decide what the heck I’m doing with my life.
My semester-long contract at the university where I’m currently teaching in China is quickly coming to an end, and I’ve had to decide if I’m sticking around another semester or moving on.
Umm, probably because I was.This time, though, things were a bit different. I hardly hemmed and hawed at all. Okay, maybe I hemmed a bit. But I swear there was absolutely no hawing.
You see, my mind has been made up for some time now.
This is kind of a new thing for me as I’m not really into making up my mind. At least not in any kind of timely fashion. Most of my decisions require me writing up endless lists of reasons why I should do one thing. And then endless reasons why I should do another thing. And then a bunch of reasons why I should really stop writing up reasons and just come up with a decision already.
Even figuring out what I want for breakfast can take me a good thirty minutes. I mean, deciding between sweet and savory is really, really hard, you guys. Especially when it’s before noon and I haven’t even had any coffee. And then as soon as I tell the waitress that, yes, I do want the Eggs Benedict, I’m instantly filled with regret and mournful thoughts of all the pancakes I won’t be eating.
- Deciding stuff is hard, people.
But not this time.This time I knew what I wanted to do.
I wanted to go home.
Take that, Thomas Wolfe.
My plan at the moment is to go home to Buffalo this summer. While there, I’m hoping to get a short-term teaching position for a semester or two – enough time to hang out with my family and friends, get some work done on my writing, and, you know, eat lots of cheese.
And then I’ll head overseas again.
Of course, this plan could always change. The last time I said I was going home for “a little while,” I ended up staying there for five years.
And I really kind of loved it.
- I got to eat a lot of Sunday dinners with my family.
I made a lot of great friends.
I started performing improv comedy again.
I went to grad school.
I dated boys. And I didn’t even have to trick them into dating me.
And I ate a lot of cheese.
- I can imagine worse fates, really.
I’ll miss a lot of things about my life in China.
I’ll miss the parks that surround the campus where I live.
I’ll miss my favorite bubble tea place and my favorite fruit vendor and my favorite pork sandwich place.
I’ll miss the few friends that I’ve made here.
I’ll miss my students — or at least a lot of them. Even though I’m not entirely sure they’ll miss me as I’m always doing annoying stuff like giving them homework. And the other week one of my students gave me a knife, and I’m still not sure if it was a gift or a threat.
- I’ll miss all the lovely local people I’ve met — especially the taxi drivers. This past weekend, one of them told me I smelled better than a new car. I mean, seriously, how could a girl not miss sweet talk like that?
And, well, there’s my couch. I’m really going to miss my couch.
I’m really looking forward to being home for the holidays this year for the first time in five years.
Sure, my trusty stand-in, Sally-On-A-Stick, has managed to attend quite a few hometown festivities in my absence over the past five years.
- But, after five and a half years, she’s starting to look a bit ragged around the edges. After all, partying can take a lot out of a girl – especially if that girl happens to be made out of cardstock and a popsicle sticks.
And I’m really starting to doubt her judgment. Especially when I see photos of her like this on Facebook.
I feel like I need to go home now while they’re still little. You know, and still really easy to impress.
The last time I went home I gave one of my nephews a huge Ziploc bag full of coins from every country I had visited. And I taught my nieces how to put stickers on their toes.
- This pretty much made me the most awesome aunt alive.
In a few more years, they’ll be teenagers, and I have a feeling the only way I’ll be able to win them over then is by buying them iPads or booze. And I can’t really afford to buy them all iPads. Not that I’m saying I’d buy them booze. But I may, you know, fill up an empty bottle with Kool-Aid and tell them that it’s Boone’s Strawberry Hill just so I can keep a little bit of my cool aunt street cred. Just don’t tell my brothers and sister that. (Hey, siblings, just kidding. Ha ha. Really. I would never give your kids fake booze. Unless you were cool with that. By the way, are you cool with that?)And I’m also really looking forward to seeing lots of my old friends again. Sure, I’m worried that many of these friendships have changed since I’ve been gone.
But, you know what they say about absence making the heart grow fonder.
Well, you know what else makes the heart grow fonder?
So I’m sure as long as there’s plenty of wine around during our reunions, we’ll be good.
And, okay, maybe I’m really looking forward to all the cheese.Have you ever gone home again after an extended period away? How did it go?