I Don’t Want the Bouquet

I struggle to answer this question every single time someone asks it: Are you coming home after living abroad? You’d think that after two years of pondering this question, I might have some sort of answer. Well, I mean “Uhm, I’m not sure of my plans yet” is an answer, but a pretty sucky one.

Having been back in Taipei after my Myanmar trip and thoroughly enjoying the fall weather, I find myself humming down sidewalks and delighting even in rainy days. I am not sure if Myanmar had this effect or if the antibiotics I took for two weeks for tonsillitis had seriously killed off everything (even my crazy)?

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I’ve spent more time this past week planning than I had all summer. Planning 2015, buying planners, writing letters, planning to write more letters, planning articles for the site, buying more planners to handwrite my editorial calendars, and planning my finances. Moreover, I started toying with the idea of trips to Nepal, Vietnam, and Cambodia as well as a trip home (and by home I actually mean San Francisco and making my relatives come to me). Plan-vember anyone?

But this post isn’t about my planner quirks. Instead it’s about tea! Glorious, autumn-inspired tea! Which is like planning’s best friend. Coffee is for work; Tea is for planning.

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So imagine, I’m standing in the tea section of the grocery store. The sound of drills pervading my deepest thoughts (about tea of course). The store had decided to remodel everything, making the task of finding the few English label foods nearly impossible to find. My chips were where my crackers used to be and my spaghetti was where the sugar used to be. But nonetheless, I ended up in the tea section. I had a box of Black Currant Tea, a box of Rose Tea, and an overly large box of Earl Grey (seemingly the store decided that Earl Grey would be the only tea sold in large quantities). I was debating which tea I should purchase—and bear with me here because I promise there’s more to this post than tea choices.

Now, if you know me, you might be laughing right now. For those that don’t know me as well, I’ll let you in on a little secret. I have more tea choices at home than I do canned goods. If the city went dark, well at least I’ll keep it classy. If memory serves me right (because I’m too lazy to get up and walk to my pantry), I have English Breakfast twice, Wild Berry Tea, Four Berries Tea, Sleepytime Chamomile Tea, Peppermint Tea, Apple and Cinnamon Tea, Strawberry and Mango Tea, Green Tea, and Oriental Beauty Tea.

So, I’m here juggling three boxes of tea and contemplating which tea I should buy, being autumn and all. Then a funny thing happened, I decided that I wanted all of them, but not all at the same time. There’s no satisfaction in instant gratification when there’s the option for THREE instant gratifications. I promptly picked the Black Currant Tea, resolved to buy the Earl Grey next week, and the Rose the week after. Talk about problem solving.

Musing to myself in the produce section as I collected the last bit of groceries, I finally figured out the answer to that pesky question: the one about coming home after living abroad, not the one about which tea to choose (Although I am curious which one you would have picked. You can leave your vote in the comment section below!).

Simply put, I am not coming home after living abroad because I don’t know that I ever will stop living abroad. Yes, I could easily travel from the States and make a balance between work and play. But why get a cup when you can have the pot? When you could have the whole shelf of selections? Why on Earth would I want the bouquet when I can have all of nature outside my front door? Travel does indeed make a life, but expats make the living.

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6 thoughts on “I Don’t Want the Bouquet”

  1. The question of if and when I’m coming home after my time in Spain is one that I struggle with quite a bit. It’s not easy when you have this life abroad that you love but of course home has its ways of drawing you in too. At least that’s the case for me. My family has moved around so much that I call home the last address I had in the US before going to Spain but even there barely feels like “home.” For me the question is not only if I will go back home but also where exactly that home will be. New York where I was born? California where I feel my personality best fits in? Florida where my parents, my sister and a lot of other family are now? So many questions! I hope to one day have a moment of clarity or an epiphany like you did! Keep enjoying that expat life! 🙂

  2. Enjoyed reading you post!
    Every time I have been home or had family visit I start thinking about moving back home. But then after some weeks I start thinking about what country I want to move to next. 🙂

  3. My answer has been that I don’t have any plans on how long I’ll stay in India. I tell people that I’m here until I’m not, and that even though I don’t know when that may be, I’m happy now and I’m also happy with not knowing. Life’s an adventure, right?

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