Looking back on the things I was looking forward to about going home, I did do a lot of what I was missing. And even re-discovered some things that I had forgotten I missed.
The Number One thing that was on my list was the people who I missed. I spent a great deal of time with friends and family. Trying to fit two lost years into a four-week time span I barely had time for myself, a nice change of pace for my social caterpillar self. Still one month wasn’t nearly enough time.
Fresh air was Number Two. Another thing I can’t seem to get enough of and something I have taken for granted the previous years of my life. I never realized how spoiled I was by the natural beauty of the place I grew up in until being away from it for so long. New York is beautiful. Of all the places I have been, of all the places I have seen, I still think it is one of the most beautiful, if not the most. From quaint little farm villages like mine, to the Adirondack mountains New York has everything. In a radius of twenty miles of my home you can do anything from kayaking to cycling to hunting and fishing.
Hand-in-hand with fresh air is Number Three; open spaces. As aforementioned, growing up in a farm village your eyes become accustomed to open spaces. I was lucky enough to grow up near the New York State GreenWay Trail. Where I found my love for running and this summer too the bike out farther than I have previously been.
Number Four, grass. I did indeed lay in a field of grass just like I wanted. I missed the feel of it so much I walked around (and drove much to my grandmothers dismay) in bare feet all summer.
Not being stared at was Number Five. As soon as we got on the plane in Tokyo to JFK no one even bothered to look my way, it was wonderful.
Number Six, having actual adult conversations. Going to the grocery store (I missed Wegmans) and being treated like a normal customer, not getting a look like “oh shit I hope this stupid foreigner speaks Chinese I don’t want to deal with this today”
Road Rules!! Number Seven thing I missed. The first few times I did drive this summer, I drove just like I was on my bike here in Taiwan and ran several red lights without even thinking.
Eight, late sunsets. By the end of August the sun was starting to set between eight and nine and everyone around me was complaining that the early sunset was a sign that summer was ending. My first two weeks home it was up until ten pm! Every year during the week of my birthday there is a meteor shower. I got to see the meteor shower on my birthday for the first time in two years. Just to lay in a dark field of grass and watch the sky fall was another thing I had forgotten I missed.
Grillin’. We grilled everything corn, kebabs, burgers (veggie), pizza, peaches.
And the last one; Number Ten; beers. I was absolutely beer spoiled this summer. (starting with our craft beer hunt in Japan). Craft brewing became a huge “thing” while I was gone and there were so many new ones to try. Pumpking, my favorite beer by my favorite brewery, Southern Tier, though a fall beer, was out just in time for my arrival. We made our own beer, a mix of rye malt and citrus hops, and attended the Rochester Craft Beer Festival for the first time. Which was a great event and I would recommend it to any Rochestarian beer lover. And of course a visit to the Genesee Brewery in downtown made my visit home complete.