*note* I wrote this over the course of a couple of days. Just couldn't bring myself to finish it. I suppose I feel like there is so much left to say.
Less than two months from now I'll be back in the United States and 8000 miles away from Shanghai, China.
How do I feel about this?
How DON'T I feel about this is really the more appropriate question. Overwhelmed, sad, nervous, anxious, impatient, grateful, excited, and ready. I'm so ready.
I've been injured from work (a foot injury) and being home (literally home in my apartment for days, alone) has given me a lot of time to think. Reflect.
I realized today on the metro, on the way to the hospital, that I'm sort of in a place that I don't belong in. Maybe it's the lack of human contact the past few days, maybe it's feeling like Shanghai Disneyland is just done with me, and maybe it's the fact that I'm on my period. Who knows?! Anyway, I can confidently say that Florida is calling my name. While I FULLY intend on coming back to Shanghai Disneyland to work again someday (I feel like I midwifed the crap out of this place), right now I just feel like there are things that need me and want me back in Florida. Things that I need and want.
Now I feel all this pressure to travel, see, feel, smell, taste, touch and experience everything that I can in Asia while I'm still here, because I don't have a guarantee that I'll be back again. It's the most overwhelming feeling that I'm on a countdown to saying goodbye. I do not do well with goodbyes. Daddy issues, I guess you could say. But, there are friends here that I just haven't done enough with. There are places I haven't visited. Here I am with a month and a half to do it all. I can feel myself shutting down under the pressure. THIS is why it sucks not being able to go to work. I think too much. I overthink constantly. That's just my personality.
What scares me is that today when I was coming home from the hospital, as I was about to get on the line 6 train to Jinqiao, my foot started hurting. A deep, throbbing pain. Crap.
There are so many things I'm looking forward to back in the States. It's been almost a year since I've seen most of my family (my brother, Chris and my mom came to visit in September). It totally feels like I left for China just a few months ago. I don't feel like I've been away for 10 months. When I leave here I'll be flying into Detroit, so I will spend some time there with my family before flying to Orlando. Then I'll be getting myself settled in my new place, happily visiting the parks, and seeing my dear friends that I miss so much. April 15th is my birthday and I'm so stoked that I'll be home to celebrate! At the end of April I start back up at Walt Disney World, which I admit I'm quite nervous about. Just getting back into the groove of things will take some time, but my friends are so wonderful and will help me feel at home again in no time.
What I think I'm most nervous about is the almost guaranteed feeling of not belonging anywhere, even when I'm back at home. My friends have changed. My job has changed. My relationships have changed. My apartment is going to be different. My family will have done so many things that I haven't. And of course... I've changed. How does a person not change after the year I've had? Everyone and everything changes because that is life. It's just difficult to know that so many things changed without me. Now I'm going back as this sort of "new" person, and I'm not sure how long it will take for me to feel like I fit in. It was a challenge to adapt to a new life here. One without Matt, my animals, and my long time friends. Some expats might have the experience of going home and finding everything is virtually the same as it was when they left. I already know that so much is going to be different, and some of it will take some getting used to. I just don't want to be stuck in limbo.
I'll end this on a note of gratitude. To those of you that have supported me, sent me happy thoughts, wished me well, put up with me during my most difficult days, celebrated successes with me, and are looking forward to the day we're reunited... thank you. A goal of mine for 2017 is to be more connected to those that care about me. Going through some heartbreaking things caused me to close myself off and withdraw for a couple years. I was embarrassed, clueless, and afraid. Luckily, I can say I'm not ashamed anymore. I didn't always make the right decisions every time, but I am learning to be more fully aware of my missteps and forgive myself. Forgiveness was definitely the theme of 2016.
Okay, 2017. I'm ready for you. :)