On Going Home

July 26, 2012

Guess what, guys.

I’m home!

Yep, home home.

I know.

Crazy, right?

It seems like just last week I was hanging off the back of a motorbike in Vietnam hopped up on way too many cups of Vietnamese coffee.

Vietnamese coffee. Loaded with condensed milk. And crack. Sweet, sweet, delicious crack.

Errm, probably because that was last week.

(By the way, guys, I went to Vietnam! I know. I totally meant to tell you all about it on this here blog. But, you see, the funny thing about writing about traveling is that it’s really hard to do when you’re actually, you know, traveling. Especially for me as I am supremely bad at any kind of multi-tasking. I’m not even really capable of thinking and talking at the same time. So, yeah, traveling and writing is pretty much beyond me. No matter how many cups of crack-filled coffee I’ve consumed.)

So this happened.

This is my first time back in the States in over a year and a half —  the longest time I’ve ever spent away from home without so much as a visit.

I even got a bit teary-eyed when the customs officer at the Detroit airport welcomed me home on Monday.

I blamed it on the fact that I had only gotten about twenty minutes of sleep during the fourteen-hour flight from Hong Kong. You see, I was on one of those planes where everyone gets their own personal video screen. And every time I get my own personal video screen, I feel like it’s some kind of challenge. Like the video screen is personally daring me to WATCH ALL THE MOVIES. But, because I’m delirious and seriously sleep-deprived and all the movies seem to include the same cast of actors, everything just blurs together in my head into one really long movie that stars Jennifer Aniston and that guy from The Office and doesn’t make any kind of sense.

But, the truth is, I missed this place.

Even if I was a bit worried about coming home.

You see, I thought it would feel really weird being back again after being gone so long.

I imagined myself fumbling along in wide-eyed wonder staring in awe at the marvels of the Western world — like toilets that can flush toilet paper.

I figured I’d be like one of those movie characters who’s been raised by wolves or apes and is introduced to modern society as an adult. Except in my imagined scenario I was raised by something a bit milder like possums. And even though I’d find myself instantly charmed by the wonders of the modern world like cable TV and hot fudge sundaes, I’d occasionally revert to my wilder ways and play dead when I wanted to get out of talking to people I didn’t like.


Where was I, again?

Oh, yes, I thought returning home would feel weird.

But, you know what?

It hasn’t really felt weird at all.

I do occasionally have to remind myself where I am and that, yes, I can drink the water directly from the tap and not have to worry about losing an intestine or growing a third eye.

Yet, overall, it feels pretty normal being back.

When I finally made it to the Buffalo airport late Monday afternoon, some twenty hours after leaving Asia, I was greeted by my parents, my five-year-old niece, my seven-year-old nephew and some seriously awesome pom-pom art.

If there is anything awesomer than being greeted in the airport with pom-pom art, I really don’t know what it is.

During the drive back to my parent’s house, my niece and nephew fired questions at me. Which went something like this:

Them: Did you like China, Aunt Sally?

Me: Yes.

Them: Aunt Sally, are you coming to swimming class tomorrow?

Me: Umm, what?

Them: How long are you going to be home, Aunt Sally?

Me: I’m not sure.

Them: Hey, Aunt Sally, are you coming to swimming class tomorrow?

Me: Umm, maybe?

Them: When you were in China, did you eat insects, Aunt Sally?

Me: No. But I did eat snails when I was in Vietnam.

Them: EWWWW! Aunt Sally ate snails! Are you coming to swimming class tomorrow?

Me: YES. Okay. I’ll go to your swimming class.

Them: Aunt Sally, Aunt Sally, Aunt Sally!

Me: What?

Them: Did you really eat snails?

Me: Yes.

Them: EWWWW!

Eating snails. EWWWW!

After they ran out of questions, they began singing the woodchuck song. You know that one that goes on and on and on and doesn’t really stop or make any sense? Because, really, who cares if a woodchuck can chuck wood? And what does “chuck wood” even mean? Let me tell you, this song is, like, super, duper fun to listen to when you’re jet-lagged and delirious and not entirely sure where your last twenty-four hours went.

The next day I woke up feeling surprisingly good for someone who had missed an entire Monday. (I think this is just proof that Mondays are totally stupid and not required.)

I made Vietnamese coffee using my new Vietnamese coffee making thingie. Which, sadly, didn’t taste anything like Vietnamese coffee probably because I was missing the condensed milk and the sweet, sweet, delicious crack.

Vietnamese coffee making thingie. Crack not included.

I ventured outside to discover my niece had invented a new game called Immigration. She had constructed her own one-girl immigration station in the driveway — complete with an American flag and a cash register. Every time someone would pass by she’d insist on stamping our “passport” (really just a yellow post-it note that she would doodle on), and then demand you give her five dollars.

Apply for your driveway visa here.

I went to swimming class.

And I went to the grocery store, where I marched myself over to the refrigerated section and picked up a family size bucket of hummus and a massive hunk of cheese, popping both into my cart like I did that kind of thing everyday, and it was really no big deal.

Bucket o’ hummus. Get in my face.

It was a surprisingly normal day for someone who isn’t quite sure what normal is anymore.

I didn’t walk around in wonder gaping at everybody and everything I encountered. I didn’t throw a bunch of toilet paper down the toilet and flush it five billion times just because I could. I didn’t even play dead to get out of doing something I didn’t want to do. (But, I swear, if I hear the woodchuck song again, I will.)


Where was I, again?

Have you ever returned home after a long time away? How was it?

I've blathered on long enough! Now it's your turn!

  1. On July 27, 2012 at 12:22 am Heather said:

    Welcome home! How was swimming class?

    When I went to Australia in 2010, the longest I had ever been overseas was 3 weeks. So at 1-month mark, I had a little bit of a melt down knowing I’d be gone for a year. By the 5th month, I was ready to stay in Oz indefinitely. Coming home last summer? Two of the most difficult months of my life.

    You’re already off to a great start and I hope the transition is as pain free as possible! Hey, maybe you can meet Nicole before she moves across the country next month 🙂
    Heather recently posted..Chelsea football game and Stamford Bridge Stadium Tour

    • On July 27, 2012 at 11:38 am Sally said:

      Well, I didn’t actually have to swim during swimming class. Just watch. Thank God, as I’m not a particularly good swimmer to begin with. I can’t imagine the effect jet-lag would have on my swimming abilities!
      I am a bit worried that the difficult stuff will soon set in. This past week I’ve just been in a jet-lagged haze of family time and hummus-binging. It just kind of feels like I’m on vacation (which I guess I’m technically on… so that makes sense). But I imagine once I have to start working again and dealing with the daily stuff of living in the States, things may get really hard. Luckily, my new job is a semester-by-semester kind of thing, so I can always run away again if I have to. 🙂

  2. On July 27, 2012 at 12:37 am carmel said:

    Woo hoo! First!

    When I returned from my study abroad in Spain, I remember being a little shocked by the variety of items in a grocery store. For so many months I could only buy groceries (well, with the exception of Corte Ingles where I had the option of buying a purse, all my groceries AND a wedding dress if I really had the desire…). I think adjusting to an American schedule was a little difficult. I suddenly didn’t have a 2 hour break in the middle of the day or didn’t eat dinner at 10pm. It was weird.

    Although the hardest part was that I was 19 at the time and couldn’t go get a drink at a bar anymore.
    carmel recently posted..Grilled Chicken Banh Mi & Hoisin Glazed Corn

    • On July 27, 2012 at 12:38 am carmel said:


      woo hoo! Second!

    • On July 27, 2012 at 11:34 am Sally said:

      I’ve been kind of spoiled in China as their grocery stores are massive and have a huge selection of items and are pretty amazing — kind of like American grocery stores but with less cheese and more live animals. I haven’t been to the local Wegman’s since coming home yet, which has a huge artisan cheese bar. I’ve been bracing myself for that I think. My eyes may just have heart attacks when they see all that cheese!

      • On July 27, 2012 at 12:34 pm MaryAnne said:

        Artisan. Cheese. Bar?!?!

        Oh dear. I feel faint. We’ve reached the point where we’d really appreciate a little parmesan on our tagine. Or maybe a side of sharp cheddar. Here we can occasionally get fresh goat cheese, but it’s unsalted, unaged, uneverything. Basically just firm ricotta. Nice, but an artisan cheese bar would be lovely.
        MaryAnne recently posted..Making You Jealous in Chefchaouen, Morocco

  3. On July 27, 2012 at 12:50 am Rachel said:

    sometimes going home is the bigger culture shock! nice that you could entertain the young ones with your stories of scary foods! haha

    • On July 27, 2012 at 11:30 am Sally said:

      Yeah, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I’ve lived abroad before for shorter stints (a few months to a year) and then come home and haven’t really had bad reverse culture shock. But this time I was gone for almost 6 years in total (with only a few visits home during that time). I’m sure the shock will set in soon enough… probably once I’m done shoveling all the hummus into my face!

  4. On July 27, 2012 at 12:55 am Greg said:

    When I returned from a year in China, I found it lonely. My kids went to school and my wife went to work. I worked for myself out of a home office, and found the quiet disconcerting. Then I’d walk around my suburban neighborhood and miss the Chinese street life. I’m glad you went home to family!
    Greg recently posted..A Different Perspective

    • On July 27, 2012 at 11:26 am Sally said:

      Yes, it’s definitely been nice being surrounded by family. But I have really noticed how few people are out on the streets here. It’s weird to drive along and see no one out walking, selling stuff or having loud, raucous conversations with their neighbors. I’m enjoying the quiet for now, but I imagine I’ll miss it soon enough!

  5. On July 27, 2012 at 2:05 am Waegook Tom said:

    Must. Find. Family sized hummus.

    I was back home in the UK in December after being away for 16 months – the longest time I’ve ever spent away from home. It was a bit bizarre at first, but I was amazed at how quickly everything became familiar again, and how my accent reverted to its usual self and lost the North American twang that I’ve acquired here in Korea.

    Also, I’m now commissioning my little brother to make me pom-pom art when I return to the UK in March. AND PIPE CLEANERS.
    Waegook Tom recently posted..Boryeong MudFest, Or Where I Get Shirtless

  6. On July 27, 2012 at 2:08 am Barbara said:

    When I go home I can’t believe how much everything costs!

    I’m glad you enjoyed Vietnam. I’m feeling pretty confident I can lure you back with coffee. Once that bag you bought runs out, YOU WILL BE MINE. BWHAHAHAHAHAHA! (And yes, I will make you eat snails when I have you in my clutches again. Bwhahahahaha!)

    Wow. I think evil laughing is good exercise. I feel GREAT now.
    Barbara recently posted..The Great Wasabi Oyster Duel

  7. On July 27, 2012 at 3:15 am penguinlady said:

    Welcome back! I will answer your question in about 2 months, when we move back to the States after 6 years living in Canada. I think it might be a bit of a culture shock, believe it or not!

    I had to comment because I also take in-flight movies as a challenge. However, somehow, I always end up watching the saddest movies ever made and sobbing my eyes out (quietly, as to not concern the person sitting next to me). My sister sat next to me on a flight and laughed as I went through a whole travel pack of kleenex in one leg.

    • On July 27, 2012 at 11:20 am Sally said:

      Oh wow. Good luck with the move home! I’ve also been gone about 6 years in total. I’m sure the reverse culture shock will sink in soon enough.
      I’m glad I’m not alone on the in-flight movie challenge! I can only watch the cheesy comedy movies, though. First of all, because I’m usually overly tired and incapable of following a plot line that requires any kind of thought. And, secondly, because I have been known to cry over 2-minute-long credit card commercials… so I don’t trust myself to watch a full-length sad movie unless I’m in the comfort of my own home. Even the cheesy comedy movies usually make me weepy at some point during the flight. I’m blaming the lack of sleep and the altitude!

  8. On July 27, 2012 at 3:25 am Jackie said:

    When I come home from a trip I am usually depressed until I watch at least ten episodes of something melodramatic on Netflix (Dawsons Creek and/or Felicity, usually, let’s be honest) and then it’s out of my system and I’m good to go. That hummus looks really good. That immigration stand is literally the cutest thing I have ever seen, and I am really impressed that your five year old niece knows how the immigration thing works. She might make an awesome travel blogger someday?
    Jackie recently posted..Barcelona and My “Special Underwear”

    • On July 27, 2012 at 11:15 am Sally said:

      I know, right? I didn’t even say anything to her at all about immigration or getting my passport stamped and she’s never been through immigration herself… and the next morning she had the whole thing set up. I’m pretty sure she’s a genius… of course, she gets that from me. 🙂

  9. On July 27, 2012 at 3:28 am CeCe said:

    Lol…I’ve always said their is crack in Vietnamese Coffee too.

    Some thing I always have to do after a long time away is laundry…like…as soon as I step into the house despite being so exhausted.

  10. On July 27, 2012 at 5:19 am DebbZ said:

    Welcome home !
    No matter how long I’ve been away from home, whether for traveling or living abroad. It’s always nice to feel home again, something I’m familiar with. And best part is to gather with my big family. Precious 🙂
    DebbZ recently posted..Hong Kong: Ocean Park

  11. On July 27, 2012 at 6:41 am Susan Bryson said:

    Welcome home, I enjoy reading your blog!
    I am an expat and every time I go home (once a year) it always feels a little strange at first. But my favorite thing to do is to go to my local grocery store (QFC or VONS) and just walk up and down the aisles staring at all the CHOICES of food! And then I go to Starbucks and get my iced mocha and my pumpkin scone. I miss pumpkin scones! 🙂

    • On July 27, 2012 at 11:12 am Sally said:

      The local go-to grocery store here in Buffalo is Wegman’s. It’s amazing! I have been dreaming about going there for months, but I haven’t gone yet. I think I have to prepare myself for all the cheese I’ll encounter while I’m there.

  12. On July 27, 2012 at 7:51 am Dyanne@TravelnLass said:

    First of all, let me say that as I peck this I am, of course, high on Saigon crack caffeine (when am I not?) – so Reader Caveat!

    That said – great to meet you ever so briefly whilst you were here in Nutso-Land (HCMC), and glad to see the shock of going home was… well, happily not so very shocking at all.

    It’s quite amazing how we wanderlust-types adapt – we are nothing if not geographical chameleons.

    Your niece’s immigration stand is just tooo cute! But I’m confused – just what is a “driveway” anyway? Is that where they park the army of motorbikes in Buffalo?
    Dyanne@TravelnLass recently posted..Only In Asia: All That Glitters…

    • On July 27, 2012 at 11:10 am Sally said:

      It was lovely meeting you too, Dyanne! And, oh, how I miss the crack coffee!
      No motorbikes here in Buffalo. Just some mini-vans and tractors. 🙂

  13. On July 27, 2012 at 12:14 pm Jay - From There To Here said:

    I just returned home (Canada) this week after one year abroad. I get so excited the second we land on Canadian soil and I love walking through the airpot and knowing exactly how everything will work. People are friendly and chatting away and this is when I think “I’m home… and I missed this place.” Then I spend the next couple of days completely overindulging in everything I missed. I swear I must have 10 meals a day. This time is a short trip home – 2 weeks – but I’m sure I’ll be ready to go again when it comes time!
    Jay – From There To Here recently posted..Are you a homebody?

  14. On July 27, 2012 at 2:01 pm kyle said:

    Seriously, what is it about cheese and hummus? Those were the first things that we gorged out on upon returning…and we still haven’t stopped. We didn’t even have a craving for hummus and then we saw it in the store and immediately started drooling.

    Oh, and as far as chucking wood goes:

    chuck (verb):
    to throw carelessly or casually

    So, now you can picture woodchucks throwing wood.
    kyle recently posted..Missing Asia

  15. On July 27, 2012 at 2:34 pm Katja said:

    Hummus. Man alive, I’ve been craving that today SO MUCH. I blame my mother for having tahini in the fridge (which is probably about 5 billion years old, knowing her) and putting the idea in my head. But there aren’t any chickpeas with which to combine it. WOE. This is the opposite situation from Italy, where there are chickpeas galore but I can’t find tahini. And even if I did I don’t have a blender and I’m sure as hell not going to make hummus by hand.


    Where was I?

    Oh yes – reverse culture shock. Yes, I’ve been experiencing it for the past month. It may have just been the weather, though, as now that the sun’s come out in the UK I’m feeling less weird. (Still haven’t totally got used to speaking English all the time, though. I’m one of those really annoying people who keeps peppering my conversation with foreign words. I used to hate people like me. Now that I am one, though, I can say that it’s not about showing off. Well, not *only* about showing off anyway …)
    Katja recently posted..Italish

  16. On July 27, 2012 at 5:25 pm Stephanie - The Travel Chica said:

    When I got home, I immediately had a good coffee, perfectly-cooked spicy fries, and a Stone IPA.

    And I used blazing-fast internet and nearly cried.
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..Foto of the Week from … Tarija: Street Food

  17. On July 27, 2012 at 6:50 pm Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) said:

    I just returned home to Toronto, Canada after having spent the last 7 years living in Nashville, TN. You wouldn’t think the countries are so different as to produce reverse culture shock, but I have definitely been struggling to reacclimate (it is probably for the best that we are leaving for a 12 – 18 month RTW trip in 2 weeks!). I’ve just been finding it especially hard to be in a place that is supposed to feel like home, yet feels oddly foreign and somewhat alienating. I feel like I don’t know where anything is, or really like I know anything about this place where I lived for 22 years of my life. Mostly I’ve just been feeling like I’m in a weird sort of limbo, now with no real place to call home. Like anything, I know it will just take time to adjust, but it definitely was eye-opening to realize that Canada doesn’t feel like home any more.
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..Choosing the Right Travel Camera Part 1: Basics

    • On July 28, 2012 at 8:19 pm Sally said:

      How interesting. I think it would feel even weirder to move between two places which are kind of similar — than between China and United States. At least, I was expecting a big change and lots of readjustment. I don’t think I’d expect that moving from Canada to the U.S. (or vice-versa).
      Good luck with your big trip! How fun!

  18. On July 27, 2012 at 7:28 pm Andi of My Beautiful Adventures said:

    WOW you’re home!!! That’s great that you had such a smooth transition coming home and that there was no culture shock. When I’m in the US I tend to get bored, but when I return I’m always SO happy to be back.
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..Hong Kong: Plateau Spa At The Grand Hyatt Hong Kong

  19. On July 27, 2012 at 7:52 pm Stormie said:

    Welcome Home Sally!!

    I have loved everyone of your posts!! I can’t believe you are back in the US! I only discovered your blog a few months ago! Now I am going to China—I guess that’s the way we keep the Universe balanced–(LOL!!!)–We trade places!! However, no one could ever take your place–You are a one of a kind jewel. Thank you again for sharing your experiences!

    I took my eight year old nephew’s Social Studies project, “Flat Stanley” all over Colorado this spring. I made him a Denver Broncos jerzey and cap–plus he grew a scruffy, but cool beard so he fit in with the outdoor types here. I promised I would take Flat Stanley to China next(a new one–because he is not just flat now, but wrinkled and the dog chewed his head a little). My four year old niece said she is sending a Flat Stanella with me too! I can’t wait!

    Looking forward to reading more about “home!”

    Glad you are home!
    Stormie recently posted..On Going Home

  20. On July 27, 2012 at 10:15 pm debd said:

    i identified with your feeling of the personal video screen being a personal challenge. i feel that way about the whole flight experience no matter how often i travel. don’t want to miss anything–movies, food?, the view out the window. when i flew from new jersey to the philippines last year, it was my first flight on the polar route–fascinating watching the ice below, then we were flying over the USSR and then CHINA. i couldn’t tear myself away from the window—between movies, that is. welcome home! deb

    • On July 28, 2012 at 8:17 pm Sally said:

      I always try to sit in the aisle seat (especially on long flights) as I get up A LOT. It’s probably for the best, though. As I don’t know what I’d do if I had to choose between my movies and the window — what a tough choice that would be!

  21. On July 27, 2012 at 11:33 pm Sabina said:

    Sally, your thoughts and feelings about returning home are close to my own. I returned home last month after two years away with no visits, and I was and continued to be amazed at how normal it feels. I expected to go through some significant reverse culture shock when I got back. But I didn’t! To tell the entire truth, even after five weeks I am still adjusting in some respects. Just today at Wal-Mart I bought a bag of cotton balls and felt absolutely decadent and delighted. When was the last time I even SAW a bag of cotton balls?! I really don’t know.

    In two days I’m heading to New York City for a day trip – my first time to New York since I’ve returned, and I know although it will feel amazing it will also feel familiar, as I used to go there all the time. In short, being home is taking getting used to, yet it feels normal at the same time. And kudos to you for buying hummus at the store upon your return! I did the same thing 🙂
    Sabina recently posted..Russia, What Is This Baby Yoga Thing?

    • On July 28, 2012 at 8:13 pm Sally said:

      Ha ha. Yesterday I bought a humongous box of cotton swabs at Target, and I felt quite decadent myself. Even though you could buy cotton swabs in China, you could only buy small boxes. But here it seems they only sell them in quantities of 500 or more. I could use a cotton swab everyday for a year and still not run out! What luxury!

  22. On July 28, 2012 at 6:02 am Priya said:

    Welcome home, Sally! I hope you enjoy your time here! Let me know if you’re ever in my my neck of the woods. And yay for pom-pom art and hummus and everything else American!
    Priya recently posted..Networking When You Don’t Know What You’re Doing With Your Life

  23. On July 28, 2012 at 9:38 am jan said:

    I know what you need at the cheese bar. In a tiny grocery store in Granada Spain, they had a few chairs in front of the glass meat cabinet. The old ladies used to sit on them and look at the meat (presumably waiting their turn – or not). Anyway that would be excellent for you! Maybe you could take your own chair.
    jan recently posted..Discover Lisbon’s Miradouros

  24. On July 28, 2012 at 11:47 am Marta said:

    For me, the post-coming-back-home depression lasts as long as the trip I took. That’s why I shouldn’t probably go somewhere for a long time. Sadly, I’ll have to manage to live with it, because I can’t imagine myself stop travelling.

    I remember that after I came back from India all my papers were about India, Asia or postcolonialism. Because, hey, having a class “Polish literature in 19 century” and writing a final essay about Bollywood is not a big deal, rigth? I was watching all the movies with Shah Rukh Khan and I almost cried when I managed to find a proper chai masala in a shop.

    • On July 28, 2012 at 8:06 pm Sally said:

      I’m waiting for the depression to sink in — I’m sure it will. But before now I’m just drowning my feelings in hummus. Seems to be working for me!

  25. On July 28, 2012 at 4:30 pm Theodora said:

    I returned home after almost two years away and promptly had flu for two months. You were wise to make the jump in summer.
    Theodora recently posted..A Very Small Atheist Does the Holy Land

    • On July 28, 2012 at 8:05 pm Sally said:

      Yes, going home to winter in Buffalo didn’t much appeal to me — that’s why I didn’t go home last time I had a break. And then they had the mildest winter ever. I’m sure of course the upcoming winter will be all full of snow and ice and other stuff I didn’t miss while living in Asia!

  26. On July 29, 2012 at 9:52 am cosmoHalliton said:

    We’ve been living in Shanghai for the past 10 months and I just took my first trip home to the States. I wasn’t really looking forward to going back because Shanghai is kind of awesome, but once I was there I realized how much I missed it. Every thing is just so easy in the U.S. No one tries to run over you when crossing the street. You can always connect to the internet. Cheese is cheap and plentiful. But now that I’ve been back in Shanghai for a week (and the sky is amazingly blue), I remember why I love it here too. (Alas, it seems I stumbled upon your blog after you left my adopted home country. But I look forward to seeing where you end up next.)

    • On July 29, 2012 at 2:35 pm Sally said:

      Oh yes, while there are many things I miss about China, I certainly don’t miss being almost run over everyday. Today, I went for a run, and someone stopped and waited for me to cross the road. How crazy is that?
      Have fun in Shanghai! I loved that city.

  27. On July 30, 2012 at 6:53 am Erica said:

    I always find that I have a long list of things I want to do/eat until I get home, and forget about it all, except for my traditional stop at a local burger joint 🙂

    Welcome home, Aunt Sally!
    Erica recently posted..First Fireworks of the Summer

    • On August 2, 2012 at 1:00 am Sally said:

      Usually when I come home for a short trip, I have a big long list of all the stuff I need to eat. It always feels like so much pressure to fit in all the meals I want before I leave again. It’s nice being home for an indefinite amount of time — I don’t have to freak out and try to eat everything NOW.

  28. On July 30, 2012 at 3:31 pm choi kum fook said:

    Welcome back to home!Your parents and relatives should very very happy to see you back after such long time, a year and the half! The longest time out of home for me was only two months. So, usually I did not fell so much particular effect. Miss Sally, have at least a month relaxation with family before to another destination.Enjoy your life! Miss Sally!

  29. On July 30, 2012 at 5:20 pm Daisy said:

    Welcome home!

    Reverse culture shock is strange. I think that the thing that feels the most surreal to me is that everyone speaks my native language. Kind of a double take.

    And things that I say really often, like “excuse me,” or “thank you,” or “yeah, that’s okay,” tend to come out of my mouth in the language of the country I just moved from. That takes a while to go away!

    In any case, I’m commenting a little late, but I hope that you have had a smooth transition back to the States, even though I imagine you are having Vietnamese crack coffee withdrawal!
    Daisy recently posted..The Daring Kitchen July Cooks’ Challenge: Papillotes de pêches et framboises à la vanille (Peaches and Raspberries Cooked in Parchment Paper with Vanilla Bean)

  30. On July 31, 2012 at 3:16 pm Montecristo Travels said:

    It is difficult to know how you define a “long” trip! We returned after a full month in Tuscany, back to the soon to be winter of Ottawa and you know what? it was weird! We found ourselves not sure where to go and what to do. Where is our piazza and espresso and Tuscan style hot chocolate? (Seriously if you have never had Tuscan style hot chocolate you have not lived) and why is everyone looking at their phones? where is the sun? olive oil? markets? bikes and scooters … did I mention scooters? Where are all the dog friendly places?? *sigh* Oh how I miss hearing “Ciao Bello!”

  31. On August 1, 2012 at 6:49 pm Katie Martin said:

    Can I just say that this post made me laugh out loud a number of times?! Your writing is so funny! I can totally understand why it would be too difficult to write about your traveling experiences while your experiencing them, so I don’t blame you for just trying to get to it later. But man, that sweet, crack-filled Vietnamese coffee sounds pretty awesome. Sounds like I need to find out where I can get some.

  32. On August 1, 2012 at 11:22 pm Ava Apollo said:

    I remember coming home after 8 months in Taipei and just being blown away that I could see the horizon. I hadn’t realized that I hadn’t seen it in so long, and even coming out of Los Angeles of all places, that was what greeted me, and let me know I was home.
    Ava Apollo recently posted..Wednesday Getaway: Capture the Color

  33. On August 2, 2012 at 3:18 pm Ceri said:

    Wow, Sally, I can’t believe you’re back in the States. It’s so sad. But I’m still really happy for you. 😀 And glad to know you’ll definitely definitely be updating the blog, right? Right? 😉 Maybe you should explore Mexico next. I hear there’s a freaking awesome “slow traveller” in D.F. who teaches and loves lounging around indoors. 😉 Hahaha.

    I’ve been away from home for nine months tomorrow. I took a trip to the States over Easter and I did find that toilet paper thing weird. I was almost scared to flush it, like, “Should I be doing this?” Haha.

    Glad you’re settling back in though, girl. 😉
    Ceri recently posted..48 Hours in San Miguel de Allende

    • On August 5, 2012 at 9:27 am Sally said:

      Thanks, Ceri. I would LOVE to come to Mexico. But I’m kind of strapped for cash at the moment (That’s what traveling for a month and spending all your hard-earned Chinese cash will do to a girl!). How long are you going to be there?

  34. On August 2, 2012 at 8:58 pm Ayngelina said:

    My first week home was fine, it was about a month in that things started to get weird. Fortunately I only stayed for a week longer and then left again 🙂
    Ayngelina recently posted..Torn between two worlds

  35. On August 11, 2012 at 2:57 pm Michael LaRocca said:

    After 12 years in Asia (China Thailand Vietnam), I returned to North Carolina in October.

    Welcome home, fellow traveler.
    Michael LaRocca recently posted..Michael’s Manuscripts (updated July 27, 2012)

  36. On March 23, 2013 at 9:43 am Hope said:

    hey Sally! We are on linkedin. So yes! I did live in Holland for … wait, let me go back abit. I dated an irish guy for abit (do date one if possible, good memories) anyway, I lived with his family for about 6 weeks before going to graduate school in Leiden Holland. SO not as long as you, but I remember other than the massive snowstorm, which caused me to get stuck in Cleveland, and them losing my luggage (first time!) But I remember seeing a quarter for the first time is 7 months? and I was thinking, “wow! so tiny and shiny!” And then I was thinking, “What the hell is wrong with me?”

    This was in 2004. And now I feel old when I think of how far away that was.

    That is AWESOME on the immigration desk so clever for a child!!!

    Great stories. You and an Irish guy would be perfect. hehe.

    Love the blog.


  37. On May 9, 2013 at 6:15 pm Tina said:

    I love your blog….I’ve only just started reading. I read your about page and this one and truly enjoyed your writing. Very smart and funny. I am actually a fan on Facebook of Auberge Inn Hostel (where I’ve never been but I have been to Manitoulin Island, where it is located, many many times). They made this their status today: Unbrave girl is staying at with us for two days, exploring Cup & Saucer and Bridal Veil Falls!….so of course I had to find out what an Unbrave girl is. 🙂 I hope you enjoy your time in Canada and on Manitoulin Island. It’s one of the most beautiful places in Ontario, in my opinion. When you do the Cup & Saucer, make sure you do the adventure trail…it’s a work out but the view at the top is worth it! 🙂

  38. On January 29, 2014 at 2:06 pm Ruthi said:

    Well we go back home (to Jerusalem,Israel) from China (currently) every semester break mostly because my Dad is 91 and lives alone.SO I TOTALLy get the hummus thing.I can’t stand no feta cheese or olives and hummus and pita is great to come home to.But after 2 weeks I need to get away,especially as people are asking such dumb questions ,like “How was your holiday dear?”
    So yes I know how you feel more or less.
    Ruthi recently posted..I’m back….time to go again!


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