Redlands, Home Sweet Home

It’s strange that I’ve only been home for 2.5 weeks now. It seems like China was forever ago. Thanks to my visit home in July/August, when I underwent the majority of the reverse culture shock, this time around it’s been easy to slip back into old routines and familiar settings. And it continues to be a delight.

There are certain vows I made while in China–like that I would never complain about the weather again–that I have so far held up with ease (you call this too hot and humid?! I would have *killed* for this kind of weather any day in Chongqing!). And I’m also maintaining my generalized delight with America. There are still moments where my ability to solve simple problems thanks to a shared cultural context takes my breath away, or where I realize with a start what a luxury it is to be able to speak at full speed and with full range of vocabulary 100% of the time.

But more important than any language- or environment-related perks of living in the US again is the more generalized delight and pride I feel in being an American and living in the US. I know, I know. But it’s true what I’m telling prospective employers: I’ve never been prouder to be an American (the song that relates to this is still my cellphone ringtone), and I am so thankful for my China experience in part because it has made this so much clearer for me.

So, I job search. Especially after teaching in China and seeing some of the pros and cons of that system, I’m interested in working in education and on education reform in this country.

After the party was the after-party, and after the party was the hotel lobby, where I posed with the bride, Ashley, and another close friend, Lauren.

Meanwhile, spending time Redlands has been fun too. I was thrilled that I was home in time to be added as a last-minute bridesmaid for the wedding of my close childhood friend, Ashley. No, you don’t want to know how much time, money, and effort went into securing the cobalt-blue chiffon bridesmaid gown the week before the wedding, but suffice it to say it was all worth it.

The wedding line-up. I'm on the faaaar left!

Last weekend was jam-packed with wedding activities (errands! luncheons! after-parties!) and it was a delight. Yes, the wedding party was rather sprawling (count ’em: two ministers, 11 bridesmaids including two maids of honor and one junior bridesmaid, nine groomsmen including one best man, two ushers, two attendants (ie, guestbook ladies), three flower girls, and two ring bearers), but it was an elegant, well-organized event through and through. Well, except for the wedding party’s ride on the “party bus” from the ceremony to the reception, which got a little inelegant….

So, Redlands has been a pretty good place to be lately, and so far there certainly aren’t any regrets. In the next couple of weeks I’m doing a Return Tour to visit Matthew in NY and possibly job hunt in DC and/or the Bay Area. Stay tuned.

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