The past 24 hours are a blur.
One day ago, I was on the other side of the world. I spent my last day of this month-long adventure at the Beijing Pearl market with Allison and Tammy, getting last-minute gifts, before our mad dash to the aiport where we made the plane to Newark just in time.
What makes this final day even more confusing is that even though I just traveled by plane for 14 hours, the time difference indicates we landed in Newark 10 minutes after we took off from Beijing. That’s because Beijing is in a time zone that’s 12 hours ahead of where I am, now. If you think that’s confusing, try doing the time calculations while extremely jet-lagged!
Anyway, it’s great to be back home in Philly, now. Allison’s mom met us at Newark and dropped us off in Philly. (Thanks, Lucille!!!!!)
After jumping in my hot, clean, shower, using my hair dryer and throwing a load of laundry in the washing machine, I met up with some of my Philly friends for dinner. (Hi, Marlo!!!!!)
I’ve had some time to think about this trip on the plane home and I know that I am a very lucky person to live where I live, have the ability to choose how I live, with the freedoms that I enjoy.
Blogging my trip has also allowed me to express myself in a very special way, and has made me fall in love with storytelling all over again. I’m energized to go back to work!
Being in Philadelphia, I notice how clean the streets are, how big the houses are, how rich everyone is — even those who aren’t considered rich in America.
There are programs online where you can type in your salery, and see where you land as far as how much wealth you have compared to the rest of the world. Apparently, anyone who makes over 20 or 30 thousand dollars a year is in the top 50%, and anyone who makes over $100,000/year is in the top 10%. I have played this game online and thought, “Yeah, right. Is the rest of the world really that poor compard to the US?” Apparently, in 3rd world nations, the answer is yes! Traveling to SE Asia, I see that many people can and do live on very little. I’ve always known that America is a country of excess — and I am guilty of being wasteful myself at times, with food, with money, with resources. Being home now, living in the space where I live, not having to worry about my survival, and being able to fly to wherever I wish (with a little bit of saving and preparation), I feel so free, and so lucky.
I’ve come to realize that my experiences are in large part shaped by the people I encounter. I’m so thankful for the people I’ve met, the friendships I’ve made and those who showed me kindness and hospitality.
Every experience I’ve had shapes me, and this was one amazing month of travel that opened me up to be touched by so many different people, cultures and customs. Also, it’s difficult to be away for so long, figuring out not only what to see and do every day, but how to get there, where to eat and sleep, and how to reflect inward to deal with the stress and the pressures of this kind of intense travel. I feel tired and thankful and happy; and I’m sure it’ll take me a moment to acclimate to my life at home again. This has been one hell of a wld ride and the previous month has been an adventure that will stay in my heart for a long, long time.
Thanks for everyone who was there, or followed along with me online.
…I’m home now, everone! Let’s celebrate!