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06/17 2014

Some things I’ve noticed back in America

IMG_0837Everyone is obsessed with kale chips. They are good, for sure, but even the back of pre-washed kale has a recipe.  My mother has stated that she is afraid of kale.  I don’t know what this means exactly, but my assumption is the fear is associated with the hype.  People don’t fear brussels sprouts or peas, for example, they merely have an opinion on whether they like them or not.  I also don’t know when kale became such a thing. It’s a good green, don’t get me wrong, but all of a sudden it’s everywhere.

Facebook is tired.  The innovative social network of 2007 is now filled with quizzes of what kind of whatever are you and game invitations.  I can’t keep up.  I am weary of it (though fully aware that I am posting this blog there all the time, no need to point that out).

I am delighted to be an easy phone call from friends.  I am thrilled beyond measure to have my niece just a few miles north of me, though I still don’t see her as much as I’d like.  Sister and brother in law are also valued immensely, but as you know, you are Audrey’s stewards in life.  To your credit though, Aimee and John, I have to thank you for welcoming me again to a city when I arrived with the dust in my pockets and a few ideas about what I want to do.  Without your support, I’d be much more hard up, not to mention lonely.  I do not know how people survive in new cities without the help of people like my sister and brother in law, or in a case from 2011, Riley and Damir when I moved to DC.  Also, I’m glad I can see Kate, Liana, Dan and Tyler when I cruise to Oregon.  I’m glad I can see my brother in Seattle.  America is familiar territory, which is the treasure and the heartache.  I need to see my parents and grandmother, and I can find a way to fit that in now.

I miss Chinese food.  I miss being an expat and being in a community of international travelers.  I miss my apartment in Shanghai and the neighbors who brought me food.  I miss the team I worked with there, and that vibrant, crazy office.  I miss the proximity to southeast asian beaches.  I will lament for the lost trip to Vietnam I failed to take last year.

So many friends have children growing at an alarming rate.  In the midst of my frantic travels it seems my friends have all become parents of these beautiful young creatures who are walking and talking and doing amazing things.  I’m fascinated by their progress.  Cheers to you all, parents of the next generation.

So we move forward.  Life has so many unexpected changes, and though I certainly never expected I’d be back in Chicago so soon, I can’t complain.  As I said to a friend recently, who can complain about a summer of baseball and bike riding all summer (I’m looking at you, Michael)?  the next thing I need to do is restart all my book connections with the book bloggers and local stores – it’s been too long.

Good to be home!