Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Home again 

Back in Beijing. Left Portland yesterday morning. It never gets easier to say goodbye. Heather and Melissa took me to the airport. Heather was desperately trying to find a nice place to have a farewell breakfast, but everything seemed to be packed out, so we ended up just going to the airport. It turned out well, though, because we had a little time to chat as we were eating pizza. Grandma guessed right. Heather ordered veggie pizza. Not bad. And we brought Juliana into the party by calling her on the phone.I was a little nervous about going through security in time, because I couldn't remember the exact exit procedure from the last time I left the States, and I didn't know how long it would take--didn't want to miss my plane. I needn't have troubled myself. There is no exit procedure. You don't have to show your passport to any official in order to leave the country. Airline officials will ask for it, and if you fly Northwest, they will check to make sure you have a visa for China. They had a problem a few years back with a couple nurses who tried to get into China without visas, so they're really picky about it now. But no immigration official stamped my passport. I hadn't remembered that, but when I look at my old passport, I can see that there is no exit stamp from any of the times I have left the US.

It's good to go, but also so good to come back. Still, coming back from a visit with my daughters leaves me with a lot of mixed feelings. I can't say that I really miss America. But I do miss my daughters. It would be good if they could be here, but my daughters are American. Very American. I guess I shouldn't be surprised by that. We did not live an international life.

And I haven't lived much of an international life the past six years. I have spent most of my time in China. I have left the country once a year, but not to go very far. My last trip to the US was in February of 2005. I guess I need to be getting back there a little more often. It is getting easier to do the international thing. Still a bit of a problem with China, because China--USA flights are so severely restricted to protect business for Chinese airlines. If the airways were opened for competition, rates would be significantly lower. That will come, eventually. It's all moving in the right direction, albeit ever so slowly.

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