|What we look like these days (except this is a week old, so I now look about twice as pregnant.)|
The South is a funny place. Everybody smiles and waves at you on the street, but they're liable to shoot you if they find you trespassing on their property. They might yell at you first, or call in the dogs, but you can bet they've got a shotgun nearby. I shouldn't spread these stereotypes because some of you nice Californians who have never been to Georgia are now thinking it's more dangerous than the shady parts of LA, and that's really not true. All you have to do is talk to someone with a good Southern accent and you'll swear they are the nicest person you've ever met, all shotguns aside. There's nothing like a good Southern accent. Except maybe a nice fried-apple pie from the Varsity.
Anyway, we have indeed come to rest in the land of shotguns and fried-apple pies, aka Georgia. I think it gets more humid every time I'm here, but probably I've just become one of those dry-climate wimps who can't handle a little air-oppression. Or the 7 months pregnant could have something to do with it. I have now officially entered the "no-fly" zone. For most people, not being able to fly for a couple of months wouldn't seem like a big deal. But for me, it's pretty weird. After all, let us not forget the 68 flights in the past 5 years. It reminds me of "entering the time of confinement" back in the olden days.
We've been enjoying our summer in the States so far. One of the best things has been all the time we've spent with friends. Yes, even better than Taco Bell. We both miss friends so much while we are gone. I forget that some people have friends they see more than once a year. Weird thought. I love laughing and being sarcastic, seeing friends' kids who are twice as big as last time but still remember you, calling someone up and saying, "Let's hang out," and actually looking at someone while talking to them, with no web-cam delays. I'll never get tired of that.
I always enjoy being back in America, but this summer has been different because I realized I don't really want to live here. Which is good since I probably won't be for at least some time. I enjoy the novelty of it all but recognize that Taco Bell wouldn't be quite so exciting if I drove past it every day. There are still things I really like about America, things even deeper than Taco Bell. Like friends that you actually see more than once a year. And (especially right now) the reassurance of knowing you can easily get to a good doctor if anything goes wrong. The overabundance of A/C (ok, we're moving back toward shallow...). Not being the crazy foreigners that everyone stares at. Our kids being able to grow up around their grandparents and aunts and uncles. But lately, I can't quite picture living here. Now that we've been away, coming back would never be quite the same.
We were visiting the other day with some friends who are about to move to China and talking about some of the things we like about it. It really made me miss China and our students and our apartment and the little restaurants we go to every week and the smiling old ladies who sit by the school gate. There are still things I really don't like about China, but often I can just shake my head and say, with fond amusement, "China is a funny place."
Similar to the way I shake my head in amused camaraderie and say, "Ah, the South. With its shotguns and apple pie. It's weird, but there's nothing quite like it."