Saturday, January 29, 2011

Stateside Once Again

The sunrise that greeted me my first morning back home

It's Saturday morning, and I've been back home for a little over 36 hours.

My flights home from Thailand Thursday were both on schedule and uneventful, unless you want to count the massive cold that set in with an abrupt and fierce vengeance somewhere over Cambodia on my way to the stopover in Taipei. I count it, as it landed me on the West Coast of the United States looking for a handful of Kleenex - something I hadn't needed the entire time in Thailand so hadn't packed in my carry-on.

I guess if there was a plus side to showing up at US Passport Control with the lower half of my face wet it was that the customs guy wanted me to please just get the hell away from him, so waved me thorough with one of those "for the love of God don't sneeze on ME" looks.

I'm sure many of you have read the ongoing debates on what's "safe" to bring back without raising the puritanical and/or otherwise unexplainable and unpredictable curiosity of the US Customs agents, but although I had my standard three suitcases filled with the usual eclectic mix of junk as gifts for folks, the woman who I was stopped by did no more than a cursory 15-second check in only one of them, and then was only interested in a sealed brick of commercial ramen noodles I'd brought back as a joke gift. She was concerned that they were "chicken" flavored and might be infected with avian flu, for God's sake - so go figure. I could have had 10 dead chickens in zip-lock baggies just below that and sailed right through. Maybe she decided she'd already seen enough temple bells and native handicrafts for the day - I don't know.

I was, however, glad to be waved along and make the drive home, where I've once again attempted to slam gears on my internal body clock and adjust to the 15 hour time shift. Transferring photos and looking over my notes will wait until tomorrow. Today I'm walking from room to room, savoring the sights, sounds and clutter of familiar surroundings, and being thankful I'm home. I even had the sunrise above to greet me my first morning home.

Travel is a privilege I've long treasured and never, never take for granted, but being home and crawling into your own bed is - without a doubt - the absolute best.


Michael Lomker said...

I remember coming home after my first trip to Thailand--2 weeks and the longest I've ever been away. I woke up in the middle of the night for the next few days in momentary longer recognizing 'home' as 'home'. It was a strange sensation.

Welcome back.

Anonymous said...

The luxuries of getting back home: Turning on the tap and drinking the water and your own comfortable bed and pillow.

How I would cope in KoPai I hate to even consider.

Anonymous said...

I woke up in the middle of the night for the next few days in momentary longer recognizing 'home' as 'home'.

It's funny you should say that...same thing happened to me and It was pretty horrible! Some days I'd wake up in the early hours and have to sit up in bed, open the curtains to see where I was, very odd experience, jet lag perhaps?

Anonymous said...

OMG, I thought it was me. I woke up several times during my first few nights back. I would get out of bed, look out the window at the city and wonder where in gods name I was now. My b/f was sleeping beside me and I didn't even know who he was. We laughed about it in the morning but man what a bizarre experience.


khunbaobao said...

JT, I'm glad your BF could laugh about you not being sure who you were waking up next to! I've heard stories about moaning a Thai nickname at the wrong moment that caused some serious problems with a long term partner back home here.

"No, honey - I said TONY, not Ton... you just didn't hear me right" LOL