Well, I've been back in the states, back in my hometown, for one week. It was a productive yet relaxing week. I ate all of my favorite foods that I missed, not only for the past year of living out of the states but for the past seventeen or so years of not living in the midwest. I also purchased a used car, found an apartment, and started the job hunt. I also spent some time getting back in touch with family and catching up with their lives.
I even found a new hobby since I'm such an early riser. Each morning I go to a different diner, drink never-ending cups of coffee (I love how the diner staff keeps your mug full without even having to ask), and chat with all the old timers. When we get around to talking about families, they all seem to know my family members (everyone knows everyone here) and they tell me old stories about them. It's pretty awesome. I've gone to an old restaurant in town that my grandma used to take us kids to, and that place hasn't changed a bit since then. And I hope it never does.
I'm also trying to organize my China photos because I'm going to speak at my niece's school about what it was like living in China. It's funny that they just finished learning about China in their Social Studies class -- she's in 6th grade -- so it's perfect timing to come in and talk about what it's like experiencing the everyday modern China as a complement to all the history they just learned. And my other niece who is a couple of years younger has asked me to come speak to her class too. Should be lots of fun. You know what's crazy? My hometown is Canton and was named after Canton, China which is now named Guangzhou. I flew through Guangzhou a couple of times this past year. A nearby town named Pekin was named after Peking, China which is now named Beijing. Both founders thought these Chinese cities were exactly opposite side of the world from Canton and Pekin, Illinois. They were wrong, but hey, it was before Google Earth.
I also got my butt back to the gym yesterday to work off all the rice and noodles I ate this past year. Oh, and the cheeseburgers, taco salad, tenderloin, pizza, beef jerky, twizzlers and chips I've eaten this week. I'm so happy my hometown now has a gym. A real, state of the art gym. The town has had a pretty rocky history economically, but it seems to be on a slight upswing. Hooray!