I am still traveling.
I am traveling more internally now, although I am still not ‘home’, in my hometown Brattleboro, Vermont yet. I am in Washington state with Erik’s family.
It is wonderful to walk in the early morning through the tall cedars and firs, smelling the springtime landscape, the air cold against my face.
In Issaquah, where Erik’s dad lives, I walk along roads past huge homes tucked privately away, behind fences, shrubs, and large trees, in subdued shades of grey, navy blue, white. Palatial homes with great glass windows, manicured lawns, a large pickup truck visible from the driveway. The wild flowers and bird song are anything but subdued. The rising sun lights up snowcapped Mt. Rainer.
The first 5 days back from the Philippines, I experience jetlag like I never have before, sleeping at most 3 hours at a time, trying to not sleep during the day to acclimate, but then wandering through sunlit hours severely sleep deprived.
I am the most awake from 3am to 7 am, which is a gift of a time, and so I write, talk with Erik about the last 10 months, go on long walks in the deep, cool forests, and watch the sun rise every morning. We finally overcame the jetlag by sleeping outside on the earth, the stars wheeling overhead, and had instant results the first night out. The second night outside, and we sleep through the night.
The culture shock has set in. I’ve been in SE Asia for 5 months, and the last place I stayed, Layog Farm, I was in a cute but concrete guesthouse with no screens, a single fluorescent lightbulb for each bedroom, the plumbing was a garden hose into the shower stall, only cold water. Now I’ve returned to one of the wealthiest countries on earth, the #1 country for the highest level of energy and natural resource consumption.
America has so much.So many houses here are big enough for a family of 6, with 3 cars in every driveway.
America shocks me with it’s ‘No Trespassing’ signs almost on every lot and in front of every home.
In the Philippines one day, we were singing songs with our new friends on the way to a waterfall, and they sang us the Filipino national anthem, which speaks of the beauty of the land and water of their country. They wanted me to sing the US national anthem, but I don’t know more than the first line, and the song that sprang to mind that I learned as a child was :
“This is my land, it ain’t your land, I’ve got a shotgun, and you don’t got one, if you don’t get off, I’ll blow your head off, so get off my land!”.
While grappling internally with all my experiences and new points of view, the actual experience of my return is sunshine, clean water, delicious food, and warm companionship. Thank you Chuck, Leslie, Bev and Rick for welcoming us home with open arms.