Thursday, August 06, 2015

Summer in America

Although technically my summer here in America is not over yet, it has pretty much wrapped up. The first week I spent at my mother's house, hanging out with my brother in the evenings and trying to sort through the mess of things my brother and I had created for our mom by living in her house and leaving our old stuff there. A monumental task. When Aya's parents arrived I was excited to show them around and to have my wife with me, but like most things when you are in the driver seat, there can be moments of stress. All in all, it was a great time and Aya's dad got to mow a lawn, a true American Experience.
After that I went to Seattle to train for Global Online Academy, which I am super excited to begin. I can finally apply some of the things I learned in getting my master's degree and the timing is good too as some of those things are beginning to become out of date so I will get to refresh them. In regards to that, I have been considering getting a Phd too, but that isn't pressing and so I probably won't start it for another couple of years. Now that will be a process!
Then saw my father's for a few days where he lived. It was great to spend alone time with him, fishing and making beer, but just generally hanging out. I don't know if its my dad getting older or just time passing by, but he seems to be more and more comfortable with my life of coming and going each time I see him. This is something that I have noticed this time. I think everyone I know back in the US is now quite used to me coming and going. My mom didn't even cry this time (yes mom, I noticed!) and though my dad got choked up saying goodbye it wasn't as much as before. Seeing some old friends was great and when it was time to go the hugs broke out, but they weren't they deep long hugs as we did before. Everyone knows, this is the new normal and I will see them again next summer.
So now, here in Chicago, after 4 weeks of studying at UIC on the Gilded Age and Progressive Era it almost seems anti-climactic to be going back to Beijing at the end of the week. I will be excited to be getting closer to seeing my wife and excited to start the new school year again, but that feeling of ripping myself from this US life is no longer there. When arriving in the US, my grandfather was not there to greet me. That was awfully strange feeling. My family's cottage, though still in the family, is now changing hands and form and a lot of the childhood memories I had there will be assigned to a place that no longer exists. I am more there than here in many ways.
Especially in talking to teachers in both Seattle and Chicago, but also in seeing family and friends, I have realized that I don't really know how American lives are lived anymore and intimately as I once did. Things have changed enough since I have really lived here that I can't precisely say I know. At the same time, being someone transient doesn't give me grounding somewhere else either. I feel like I am floating outside of the sphere and its liberating, but also makes me a bit anxious.