Well, I have been back in the States for over a week and am still finding it difficult to settle down enough to catch up the blog. The thirty hour trip hanging around in airports and flying two ten-hour flights was tiring but knowing I was heading home helped. It’s just hard to stay enthusiastic while trying to shift your body back twelve hours. I arrived in Houston on schedule and Rusty was there waiting for me as I came out of customs – a real sight for sore eyes. I arrived in the early afternoon and we went to the hotel and I had the chance to take a wonderful hot shower before we went out to eat. We went to a Mexican restaurant with really (and I do mean REALLY) good guacamole – which was my request for my first meal back. It was very nice to just share a quiet meal with my husband and I really appreciated that those anxious to see me were respectful of my need for some time to adjust. The next day I had a long phone conversation with my mother and then my mother-in-law, Aliene, came to the hotel and gave me the chance to show off everything I’d brought from India. Rusty, Aliene, and I enjoyed yet another night of Mexican food. The next day Rusty finished his work in Houston early in the afternoon and we picked up Veera, my friend from Tamil Nadu, for the four hour drive back from his sister’s to Texas State. I hadn’t seen Veera since the TEDx Conference in January and it was good to catch up with him. He and Rusty have been doing quite a bit together so it seems safe to say that Veera is now Rusty’s friend and I was just along for the ride.
Getting back to my home was pleasant but I have to admit a bit anticlimactic. I’m not sure what I would hope would happen, but the cats didn’t seem particularly overjoyed to see me and things looked much as they did when I left. Rusty did a great job of keeping my plants alive and all animals were safe and accounted for – including a new dog who has adopted us during my absence. I felt I had gone through so much in three months that it is hard to imagine that my life at home stayed pretty much the same. Though I said repeatedly for a long time that I didn’t want to have to return to my job and so resigned rather than considering an extended leave, I have to admit that it has seemed very peculiar to be back but not working at the university – I guess it was kind of like a thirteen year habit. Because we’re still talking about relocating to the Houston area, I am not even productively looking for a new job at this time, which is probably good as I find it challenging to concentrate even after a week and a half. Perhaps I still suffer from jet lag but it feels more like I’m directionless and have lost some focus. What I needed to do in India was usually pretty straightforward and relatively clear cut, whether it was working on the project or getting my laundry done. Now there are so many more options and I find I’m accomplishing very little. I think it took a while to adjust to the rhythm of India and I now need to find a way to adjust back – but in some ways my old activities have shifted complicating this more than anticipated. I suppose it is a good thing that I’m not expected to work right now as I am not certain how productive I could be. However, I am anxious to get structure back to my life and hope to get busy finding my next job soon.
The part of my return home which has lived up to my expectations has been reconnecting with friends and family. It was wonderful going out to dinner with our good friends and having a chance to catch up. Unfortunately it seems others are more interested in my experiences in India and it is hard to find out what has happened with them during my absence but talking has never been difficult for me ;-) so regaling others with my adventures isn’t really a problem. My kids, Bradon and Caleta, along with Caleta’s boyfriend Rich, had decided to come over my first weekend to visit and play cards, our favorite shared family activity. At first I was told that they would come on Friday evening and intended to spend the night. All three ended up spending two nights and didn’t leave till fairly late on Sunday so it was a surprisingly long visit and I think everyone enjoyed themselves as much as I enjoyed being back with them. I did a tandem jump parachute drop thirteen years ago when I turned 40 and the kids have often talked about wanting to do it – and Rusty decided that since Bradon is about to graduate with his associates degree and it was a celebratory weekend, that we should jump from a plane together. So Saturday morning Caleta, Bradon, and I flew up into the sky and skydived out together. The weather was a little windy and both Caleta and I got a bit more spun around than we were comfortable with and were rather nauseous afterwards (Caleta actually had to get sick twice) but we all enjoyed the experience. Bradon had an excellent guy jumping with him who let him really get into controlling aspects of the jump and he had a great time. If I skydive every 13 years as I am presently on schedule with, my next jump will happen when I’m 66… not sure if that sounds good or bad. Between the skydiving, eating Rusty’s wonderful cooking, playing competitive cards, and visiting about everything possible, we all had a terrific weekend and it was a great welcome home celebration.
All in all I find I am missing the routine I had in India as well as feeling like I should be keeping up with their activities. I worked hard to ensure that the project was as self-sufficient as I could leave it so my interference is really not necessary but I haven’t fully separated from it yet. At the same time, it seems difficult to reconnect to projects here at home. I think I’m going to have to shake myself out of it by tackling something big – like cleaning out a big area or painting a room – something that would probably be productive and get me occupied without requiring my full mental faculties, which seem to be stalled somewhere over the North Sea. Hopefully undertaking such a project will allow me to recoup my abilities and get back into the swing of my “real” life. I wonder if others find it difficult to readjust when returning from such an experience and I just haven’t been warned. I guess this could serve as a precautionary tale for others. Taking such a long hard look at my life and lifestyle and evaluating my activities and work efforts has certainly adjusted my priorities so it makes sense that I am finding it difficult to fit right back into that life and it will be interesting to see how long it takes for me to settle in to a new routine. Wish me luck as the life-changing adventure continues, just on the home front!