Saturday, September 24, 2016

Ready to REpat.

Where do I (re) start?..... it's been challenging. more and more lately.
Trip home in April 2015 for Joy's Wedding
Trip to the US September 2015 for Greg (my brother's) wedding about a year ago now exactly.

2015 in (the US AND Taiwan) in general was great.
trip with good friends  to Taichung to the "Rainbow Village" for the 4th of July here
beach day trip (again w/ awesome friends)  to Fulong on  September 12th, 2015
Amazingly warm (and hearty and delicious) Thanksgiving dinner at James n Monica's apartment here
A few fun nights at KTV.....

But something changed going into 2016. (little did we know - maybe the lack of "wooooooos! yeah!"  enthusiasm/passion/noise at NYE at Taipei 101 should have been an indication). I've heard from some of my older Taiwanese students that, as far as the Chinese zodiac/the Chinese New Year Animal Year, rather than bringing you "GOOD" luck, your animal year is typically supposed to be more challenging for the person who was born under that sign. 2016 is The Year of the Monkey. I am a Monkey (1980 was also a Monkey Year). So....I'm gonna just blame it on that. I mean, in general life is good. Believe me, I count my blessings.....but I can't ignore/get past this restlessness?heartache?hunger?homesickness?.....that's become more of a staple in, if not everyday, at least 3 times a week.
That daily "heavy" feeling has come back. The same feeling that was here when I first arrived in Taiwan. At that time I blamed it on the heaviness of the May heat and jet lag. Just a real "body tiredness". I still workout 3-4 days a week regularly.. I rarely get sick. I sleep pretty normally.......yet I still feel tired. It's more like my spirit has split from my limbs. It "left" ....and a body without a spirit is.....in the Christian/Spiritual sense at least, .dead, right? I go through my work day until around 5:30, I tutor on Mondays and Tuesday nights,, I occasionally go to my LGBT meetup Tuesday after tutoring, have Church Community Group on Thursday nights now and then the weekend....to sleep,  read, meet up w/friends, coffee, workout....and the cycle starts again. I don't mind routine but I want to "plant myself, water my roots, and grow". I'm tired of being an expat. I want to be a REpat.

I felt so ALIVE in the US these past two times. It was the perfect mix of autonomy (aka not relying solely on my parents as far as places to stay and transportation- road tripping with Cheri down to Maryland for Joy's wedding, etc.) and connectedness. I felt energized and light and connected and happy. I have felt these things in Taiwan too--but more and more I have to point it out- the specific situations- to myself and remind myself to be grateful and relish it. They are fewer and far between. I still want to travel- I'm still hungry to "move around and explore" and BE scared and excited and a little lost ...in new places. I want to road trip to California and Tennessee and Texas to visit friends that I met in Taiwan who have since moved back there.

I miss my family. It's been almost 6yrs. I've missed two little cousins being born. I missed my Uncle Stuart's 80th birthday. I've missed one whole term of President Obama in office. I want to nest and I want to cherish the time I have with my parents and older relatives more and more because....God only knows. I'm not the person who would live abroad forever. Even when I was so naive....with Lisa in China (5 yrs ago- wow) I didn't think that I would settle in China, I expected HER to move back to the US. Most of my family still live in New York. Even after checking out places in Tennessee and the Carolina's and Arizona, (or you'd think somewhere cheaper, near my brother and his wife in Minnesota) my parents didn't feel any of those places were for them and are looking to move somewhere in NY when they sell the townhouse and scale down to more "senior living". New York is home and it's time to head back there.

Since I last posted here I've had some beautiful eye-opening trips to Vietnam and Bali.
 "My kids" that I taught for 2.5 yrs  have graduated from kindy and are now 1st graders.
I've seen AMY again!- since her April 2015 to NY- we met up in Bali in July 2016.
My laptop BROKE/BURNED OUT .....I still haven't bought a new one- with money going in other directions- so yes, I am blogging from my iPhone right now.
I've been researching/reading/connecting with more LGBT Christians and rooting myself in my Christian faith more- rather than running away- as frustrating as that can be at times as a Christian who also happens to be gay - learning to lean on/ground myself in Christ and all that he is and has done already, all that he has completed for me- and the work I see being done in my life- rather than the opinions, or judgements of others. There is SO much that I am excited about regarding this.....but it waits in the US. Nothing I can do here.
What else? Live music--been looking for more and more of that here with friends as that feeds my soul and keeps me happy/grounded in the here and now. Going on a road trip to Taichung next weekend with some friends....looking forward to that.

I am trying to be patient with myself and with God. I am happy that I'm starting to slowly save up a good chunk of money for when I move home. (Though honesty I'm going to spend $3,000 of that on a Business Class flight-- treating myself for at least one flight in my life-  (after flying ONLY Economy flights and one 20HR TRAIN ride from Beijing to Foshan my first year in China), I want to go home on that 13 HR direct flight in comfort, style, and with a fully reclining seat/bed. So....that will take a little more saving effort. But I hope to book it soon (by December). ("Moving Home" offical date currently TBD but I'm thinking late May)

I WOULD post pics here from Rainbow Village and the beach and T'giving....but for some reason I can't access them (and they are ON this phone). So I'll have to try to email them to myself and get them here another way. I am so grateful for all the people who have crossed my path here, the friends I've made, the challenges I've encountered and conquered, the pleasures and the pains....it's ALL worked and it's not that I don't wish I came here (I DO--how else would I have met and loved so many beautiful souls/friends/newfound brothers and sisters here?) BUT....it is time. It's become harder to tell my mind, like a wandering child, to "get back here!" "Hold my hand!" "Stay with your body!" . But I am trying and I am so grateful for everything.