The big news I’ve procrastinated in sharing…
ZJ and I are headed to the U.S. on July 8, arriving stateside on the ninth, staying for an undetermined length of time yet I can say with a fair amount of certainty on a more permanent basis.
什么时候你回来？ When are you coming back?” students, acquaintances, strangers, and concerned citizens implore.
“哦，我不知道，但是必须回来。I don’t know, but [we] will return.”
Students, in particular will follow-up this conversation with telling me I will be sorely missed, and double checking whether or not I will be teaching next semester (?!).
We went through the Direct Consular Filing process at the American Consulate in Guangzhou, hence our trip in January and once again in April. A write up about the experience will follow this post.
After arriving, our first order of business is for me to renew and/or submit an application for a driver’s license, as I’m not sure about New Jersey’s policies in regards to expired driver’s licenses.
We’ll be living at my parent’s place, with a fair amount of privacy as the late Grandma and Grandpa Kowalski (mom’s parents) lived with us and had their own living quarters with a separate entrance as well as the garage one. This will be the first face-to-face interaction between ZJ and my parents. A week after our arrival, my parents have planned a little shindig in honor of our arrival; a fair amount of family and friends will attend.
I’m beginning to have very mixed feelings about leaving. While in the midst of the DCF process, I couldn’t wait for the day when ZJ’s visa, on the relevant website, said ‘Issued,’ yet now it’s far more surreal and daunting considering I still have grading, marking, handing in paperwork, packing, job hunting, and concluding four years of work and life in Xi’an. And although the Xiananigans may technically be coming to an end, I foresee that life will still be peppered with the adventures and shenanigans that first inspired the blog’s title.
It will be a big adjustment for the both of us, as while ZJ experiences culture shock, I’ll be battling reverse culture shock. ZJ has only traveled ‘overseas’ once, if you count Thailand and Laos as such.
I am, however, very excited for us to start a new chapter in our life, and do so guided by the Kluger side of our family. I will miss 妈妈爸爸张 as they have always been very welcoming and supportive of ZJ and I. Even though our verbal communication may still be limited, thanks in part to my subjectively useful Engnese (English style Chinese), I can still, nonverbally, feel their warmth, caring, and hospitable attitudes every time we visit the countryside. We’ll make one final visit, an extended weekend one, before we leave. 二哥, the middle brother, will go through the hassle of picking them up from 老家 in order for them to say their final goodbyes at the airport. In addition to 妈妈爸爸张, both brothers, sisters-in-law, nephews, and younger sister 佩佩 will see us off at the airport.
What was your experience like when you returned home after living or working abroad?