Living the expat life in Asia for most of past 7 years, we’ve always looked forward to our short trips back to the states, err, I mean, Texas. Catching up with family, friends, and ooooh yeah, the food! The meat, buffets, and oversized portions! Stepping into Costco here in Taiwan is like visiting American soil (they have the same hot dog deal here, too, by the way), but Texas is where I grew up, went to college (Go Horns! Go Coogs?), met the love of my life, and where Em decided to grace us with her presence. It’s still “home,” in many respects, even though we tell ourselves that home is wherever we happen to be.
This year, however, the anticipation of going home feels different. Exciting, but in a bad way. Perhaps it’s the news media covering every extreme event, you know, the car wreck, like people being roughed up and kicked off planes (luckily while grounded), Americans being harassed at airports, random acts of racism (whatever happened to RAOK?), protests in the streets, and the usual political spitting contests and name calling.
Yes, yes, we’re definitely following every development, as if we could avoid it. Intellectually, I know we can focus on the good, and not allow the bad and the ugly tint our view of home. We know that good, caring people outnumber the haters and trolls, but it’s the haters that are getting all the attention on social media, making my home a very hostile looking place. I feel the need to mentally rehearse my Asian stereotype comeback lines I used in middle school (or college), like, “Oh, yeah, why don’t you go back to Europe?!” – just in case. I don’t like feeling that level of anxiety, while in my own country. I shouldn’t have to be ‘ready,’ but in reality, that readiness was never turned off while living in the states. Oh, I had a long list of comebacks, like a quarterback with plays written on his wrists, ready for an audible when the situation called for it.
I’m guessing as soon as we get there, life will be kind of normal. We’ll eat our three meals a day, see my friends for about 15 minutes (hey, people are busy!), take Em to a summer camp, watch some ball games on TV with my dad, get some great Tex-Mex and BBQ, and before we know it, we’ll be on our way to Taiwan again.
I’m hoping for boring. Boring is good.