Well it's not like I'm in danger of getting an overinflated opinion of myself, is something I realized while I boarded my last flight (for the near future) LAX to Oakland to finally, finally return home.
I confidently marched through the airport, pleased at the sound of my heels clicking in time with my stride. Gone was the time a year ago when the mere mention of a travel itinerary made me anxious, now I returned from Asia an assured, experienced traveler. The ordeal of the TSA was tedious, but easy. I had my shoes off and in my hand before I even reached the conveyer belt. I cringed when the sandwich I purchased cost the equivalent of 100 rmb, but I was starving. When I sat down at my gate waiting to board, I was proud of myself and how much more composed and matured I had become in the last 8 months...and then I dropped my damn $16 sandwich open face on the floor.
So it goes.
I had resigned myself to picking bits of avocado off of the carpet for the next half hour, when a maintenance worker swooped in and swept the whole mess up in a few minutes while I heard a few giggles from behind me. But other than my obvious disappointment and hunger, the whole thing felt like a pretty fitting bookend for this whole experience.
I started my blog to keep track of the wacky hijinks I experience while traveling, the point being that China is such a weird, exciting place that no matter what I do, my exploits would be noteworthy. The idea was that by the time I returned from this grand adventure I would be seasoned in such a way that nothing would phase me. The visual equivalent of what this year became, however would have to be more along the lines of some old school football couch following me around a cost plus world market and yelling "YOU'RE NOT SPECIAL" in my face over and over again. Whether I like it or not, basically everything this year has been a constant humbling reminder not to take myself too seriously. I made a big deal out of not having any idea what it was I was doing in Asia, but if I'm being honest, it's not like I attack life in America with some kind of grand strategy.
So I return from Asia, sans sandwich, a little older, a little wiser, but more or less the same. This isn't to say I haven't gained anything, I have plenty of stories and opinions that I have already shared too many times( like the night marathon or the time we used rice wine as a disinfectant ). But I'm not some brand new superior entity that has leveled up in some way just because of where I spent some time. I'm still the same fumbling me, and that's okay, I'm saying goodbye to people and places I've grown to care about in order to say hello again to those I have missed dearly. No matter what I have the fortune by being surrounded by those who care and support me wholeheartedly, and most importantly, will be there waiting with In-N-Out when the plane lands.
If I'm being realistic, I know I'm not done talking about my time in Asia. I like talking, and I have plenty more to say, but this seems like a natural conclusion for this story to come to. So for the time being, thank you, whoever you are, for reading along for this year and for all of your kind words. You really have no idea how much every like and comment meant to me, that anyone (other than maybe my parents) would contribute any amount of time to my ramblings. Thank you so much, I hope I get the opportunity to provide some other kind of entertainment or distraction to you again in the future.