Back home again (redux), thank you, John Denver (redux)

My flight from Europe arrived in Portland on time at 10:25 p.m. on Tuesday, November 10. Since then, I’ve been battling a cold bug that has comfortably nestled in my sinuses. It does not make the acclimation process any easier. But it does explain why I haven’t written in five days.

It’s amazing to me to think that, the last time I wrote, I was wandering around my little town of Alba Adriatica, Italy. Everything was done, I had said goodbye to my family and my little support system. I had eaten my last glorious spaghetti dinner. Of course, I had indulged in olive d’Ascolana–three times.

Once the bus arrived to pick me up, it seemed that the pace picked up. Probably because I wasn’t waiting and pacing. I had a schedule to keep, bags to check in, Passport Control, etc. It was the start of a long, arduous process of relocating back to America from my one year life as an expat in Italy.

There was nothing unusual about my return home. Although I did fly Rome-Istanbul-San Francisco-Portland. It’s strange to fly in the opposite direction of one’s destination, in this case, Istanbul. But, since the flight was inexpensive and I was not on a schedule, I thought, “Why not”?

I did learn a valuable lesson on this return journey. My flight on Turkish Air from Istanbul to San Francisco was only about seventy-five percent sold out. This suggests to me that the best options for flying to Europe in the future might be foreign airlines such as Air France, Lufthansa, Turkish Air or Air Canada.

These airlines offer more leg room and wider seats which is especially comfortable for someone with broad shoulders. Since the American airlines are proving time and again that they no longer care for their economy customers, foreign carriers will most likely be my vendors in the future.

I have to admit that it felt good to arrive in San Francisco. There’s something about being in familiar surroundings that is very comfortable. My cell phone service worked. My internet service worked. These are two of the biggest joys for me.

And when I touched down in Portland, I looked out the window and saw the wet pavement on the tarmac. Yes, I was back in Rain City, USA. And I was glad. I had been getting tired of the heat. Indeed, I had spent the previous Sunday tanning on my patio. I was anxious to see the leaves changing color.

I have now been home for four days. Even though I’ve been fighting this cold virus, I’ve been charging around, trying to get thing accomplished. I thought I had all my ducks in a row when I created my little “to do” list. Boy was I wrong. All the running around has not helped as I attack this cold bug so I will stay put this weekend with copious cups of tea while I watch the rain hit the windows.

I have to admit that I was somewhat surprised at my attitude as I drove around the Greater Portland-Salem area…it felt as though I had never left. I had to force myself to remember what I had just experienced.

But then, I was only gone for a year. My return from California after an eight-year absence was more climactic because I had been gone for so long. Everything seemed different and almost exotic. I reveled more in my return.

Now, however, it feels as though I’ve never left. I felt like it was November of ’14 all over again as I drove down familiar freeways and through familiar neighborhoods and commercial areas. Not much had changed.

Also, when I returned from California, I actually had to work to renew relationships. This time around, everyone has been waiting for me. I’ve received numerous emails, text messages and phone calls already.

One of the great things about technology is the minimization of distance. In the 80’s when I went to California, even phone calls were prohibitively expensive. Now, they’re free over the Internet. I was able to stream video from webcams of any place back home (and, in Italy). I could talk to people face to face on Skype. These advancements helped to bring home a bit closer.

Now, I’m home and just laying low. After doing a bunch of errands and attending to necessary responsibilities, I will fight this flu bug so I can get back on track with appointments and the job search.

As much as I loved this last year, the experiences, the people, the cultures, it is good to be back home again.

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