Thursday, April 28, 2011

Back to the Future

I'm a bad little blogger; I've been back from the US since Monday and haven't really made the time to write a post saying HI and how great my trip home was. I blamed this on the fact that The Irishman hid my camera cable so I can't upload pix from our trip to post, but really that's just me making excuses.

Jetlag this time has been an odd one. We took the overnight flight from Newark Sunday evening after a delicious Easter dinner and though it felt like I didn't sleep much, I think I did because I was FINE on Monday. Like, did laundry, went to the park and read in the sun, and wasn't cranky fine. Meanwhile The Irishman spent all day on the sofa and couldn't put two words together properly. But now, man, I get home from work at 6:30 and I am BEAT. And I get up at 8am and I can't open my eyes because at 4am I've been waking up bright eyed and bushytailed. I have no idea what's going on, but I am really hoping this goes away stat.

Anyway, about my trip home. In Philly, I made sure my bestie got married in one piece - she won't mind if I say that she got horribly sick the week before her wedding and us 'maids had the job of telling her how beautiful she was (AND SHE WAS GORGEOUS) through the pain. It was hard for me, though, because I felt guilty that I only flew in to shower her with presents and Grazias, rather than being there for her throughout the wedding planning process. Yet another one of the travesties of expat life: not being there for your bestie until the last minute.

Also in Philly, The Irishman and I ate a lot of his firsts: first cheesesteak, first pork sandwich, first soft pretzel, first Amish deli, first whoopie pie... He was in heaven. I was just trying to pace myself so my 'maids dress fit. Then The Irishman celebrated his first Seder with my family. He wore his first yarmulke and chose a fetching teal one; I was so proud of him for jumping in and fully embracing the holiday.

In New York, I crammed about 10 meals into two days so I could see my peoples. Every trip home it gets harder to spend quality time with people; meetups are shorter and less deep and I consciously feel the distance growing between myself and my friends. I know they care, I know I care, but the truth is I'm less involved with their current lives and vice versa. I'm learning to accept that, and to be okay with it. It's no one's fault, we're still friends, and it's enough to be able to see each other and pick up with wherever we left off - even if it is only in hour-long chunks.

And then we had Easter, where The Irishman was the star of the show. Again. Honestly, they love him more than me.

But the oddest part of the whole trip was that I was excited to go home because it was vacation, not because it was home. I forgot a lot of driving directions, like the backroads around my parents home that lead to I-95. It didn't feel like my place anymore; I am increasingly offended by American TV and anachronistic customs. Yet when I left, I didn't feel like I was going "home"either. Landing at Heathrow didn't feel like relief - it was just where I was going. So at this point, I just feel nationless. It's actually quite a freeing place to be, not being held down by some invisible cultural rope to a set of customs and expectations arbitrarily assigned by birth; I feel liberated but bewildered, like a kid who is home alone for the first time and knows she can do whatever she wants but isn't quite sure what that might be.

My bestie told me something funny after her wedding; apparently her family were quite disappointed that I wasn't actually British. She had told them that her friend from the UK was attending, and when they met me, heard my accent, and learned I was from New Jersey it was all a bit boring. I loved that. Expat life continues to amuse me in all of the oddest ways. So here I am, back in England, back living my odd stateless life, back to living my future.

Well then. I'm off to the pub.

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