Last year on this day, we went to the supermarket for the first time after our return. The kids piled stuff into our shopping cart: Lunchables, cereals, hot pockets, as if they were starved in Taiwan (see posting here.) A BJ’s opened while we were away. The mere sight of the giant carts turned me off. But now I no longer see the 36 rolls of toilet paper in my cart.
For months, we stayed away from the cucumbers. Now, they no longer taste like rubber.
In the first few months I parked in a far parking lot at work, determined to continue walking and taking the bus. I gave that up quickly, because it is impossible to rely on the bus to get the kids to where they need to go.
For longer than a few months I parked at the farthest end in every parking lot. Not any more.
They kids no longer hear “my driver”, “my maid”. They mow lawn, do laundry, take trash, rake leaves, spread mulch, clean gutter, shove snow, just like their classmates do on weekends. It is a gift to be able to practice life.
Freshly mowed yard smells delicious. It is a luxury that I understood only after coming back.
I miss seeing sons and daughters “walking” their shriveled moms and dads in the neighborhood. It was a moving and comforting sight.
I seriously miss the doctors and dentists. Many open until 9 p.m. Not taking kids out of school to have their teeth cleaned was a norm.
Last week was hot here. But we still had cold water. Back in Taiwan, only warm water came out of the faucet on many summer days, because the pipes were cooked in the sun. That is real summer!
I do not miss Hello Kitty, I really don’t. (You need to see a picture of it to understand how foreign I was.)
Most important of all, I no longer have to ask the shop whether they carry size XXL. I am petite here. That alone makes coming home feel great.