Yes, I’m back!
After an eleven-hour direct flight on Saturday, I have finally returned to Los Angeles. It’s been eight months away and while I had a blast in France, I’m also glad to *finally* be home.
My flight back from Paris went relatively smoothly- granted, I didn’t sleep much because of the cabin pressure and noisy children (normally, I don’t handle long-haul flights very well to begin with), but all the same, I was pleased with the service on-board, from the pre-ordered dinner and snack to the entertainment choices on the personalized touch screens (watched La La Land, which was pretty good). Having purchased my flight ticket back in November for a mere $250(!), it made the flight home all the more sweet. From the airport, my dad picked me up and after a nice, home-cooked meal with all of my family members (mom, dad, sister), I was ready to fall into a deep, restful sleep in the comforts of my childhood bed.
Besides getting home safely, I was also able to celebrate Mother’s Day that weekend, cooking lunch for my mom and overall spending time with my family after having not seen them for five months (the last time traveling with them over the Christmas holidays in Spain). Was rather an overcast weekend, although temperatures were consistently warmer than in Normandy; I hope to head to the beach sometime later this week, just because I’ve missed it (and mind you, I’m not a huge beach person to begin with!).
As for being jet-lagged, I’m actually holding myself together quite well. True, I find myself nodding off in the afternoon, but in comparison to arriving in France from California last September (which took perhaps four days to adjust), I’m doing pretty fine. It’s interesting to think that I’ve *technically* traveled “back in time” from France, and now the nine-hour difference to communicate with friends overseas is an actual thing. Then again, that was the case with friends and family back in the States when I was abroad, so fair enough!
What I’ve noticed every time I return home is that things haven’t really changed, but at the same time, we have. I’ve forgotten the actual term for this phenomenon, but in any case, it’s an interesting observation. Perhaps it’s something of a “reverse culture shock” or the fact that we, as people, change, but it’s both thrilling and unsettling at the same time. From the new cars that my parents had bought to the stores that have come and gone in my town, I wasn’t sure if I had been expecting that things would stay the same- frozen in time- when I was away. Even some of my friends have moved, either to another city in California or a few states away for graduate school; many are busy with work and being “actual” adults, which is crazy to believe since it’s only been a couple of years since we’d finished college.
Perhaps the reason that I feel this sense of limbo, of knowing that I’m temporarily unemployed (but will be employed again soon), is because of the career that I’ve chosen for myself, i.e. an English teacher abroad. The fact that this job is short-term and heavily travel-based makes it an unconventional occupation to be in. Whereas most 9-to-5 jobs offer vacation time as a reward, my job interweaves it into the work I do, if that makes any sense. Traveling frequently does warp time, in a way, and I feel like these past eight months have been nothing but a great dream that I’m reluctant to wake up from. This isn’t to say that I’m not happy to be back home to “reality” in the States (far from that), as I do miss my family and friends along with the atmosphere of home.
Any case, considering that I’m back home in Los Angeles just for this summer (before having to repack my bags and fly back to France in the fall), what are my plans for these next three months? Of course, I still have to attend to my Master’s program online, as well as my freelance writing side gig, but aside from those practical matters, I hope to enjoy myself and take advantage of being back in the United States to do what I want to do sans restrictions.
In other words, I hope to get out more, walk more (although drive some, because I’ve missed it), and explore more of Los Angeles. I did a bit of it last year, but not nearly enough to say that I’ve seen what the backyard of my hometown has to offer- it’s funny to say that I haven’t explored much of my own city, having grown up here for twenty-two years (and then some). I’ve never been to Hollywood, so perhaps that merits a trip over sometime!
Besides exploring the different neighborhoods, I would like to expand my taste buds to different cuisines. Considering that Los Angeles is such a huge melting pot of cultures and people, I’ve had my fair share of trying Korean, Lebanese, even French-Canadian dishes from restaurants all over the city. This time, I plan to take it up a notch to encompass Tibetan, Armenian, and Ethiopian food (the last one high on my bucket list). For me trying to try all of these cuisines, it’s like a way of traveling to different countries…without setting foot on a plane! And of course, I hope to return to the familiar dishes I’ve grown up eating, from Mexican soft tacos to Korean fried chicken to Sunday dim sum with the family.
Speaking of, I also hope to spend more quality time with my family. Granted, I’ll be stuck with them pretty much the whole summer, just because I live with them. But the fact of appreciating their company, something of which I never liked as a teenager (heck, even as a college student), is all the more important for me to do at this point in my life. True, distance has made the heart grow fonder (cliché as it is), but I hope that close proximity will yield the same sentiment, especially when we know that I’ll be leaving again soon.
I could go on and on about the other personal goals I want to accomplish this summer, but I’ll spare you the details, as it could take a while. Ambitious as it all seems, there’s no pressure to get them all done. There will be other summers, other times that I can do so, so that said, if they happen, they’ll happen. For the moment, I’m happy to be home, resting up and readjusting myself to life in the States.
Will be writing up my posts of my recent travels (in Morocco, of all places!) from earlier this month, after my teaching contract ended. Expect them to be up next week, and until then, take care!
TL;DR I have decided to officially launch my own Facebook page, so feel free to pop over and “Like” it if you want to receive my posts in a more timely manner. No pressure to do so, especially if you don’t have Facebook. All right, until later!