Home coming was both exciting and sad as we knew we would have a chance to reunite with family but sad from leaving behind the spontaneity of our lives. Coming home we would get back into a scheduled lifestyle, driving the same roads, seeing familiar faces, which would make it seem like we never left and soon time would erase the memories of our travels. I also felt sad and a little anxiety to have to go back to work, start learning to drive again, and deal with more expenses then we had while on the road.
I think being in Singapore as our last stop somewhat softened the blow since we somewhat got used to a Western lifestyle with lot of the same food chains, skyscrapers, and people busy at work often tapping away on Blackberries. We landed at JFK in New York and immediately the contrasts were evident. Our flight from China was full of Chinese who didn’t speak much English, so when we got off the plane and were making our way to immigration, one of the officials in a loud voice started telling the Chinese in English to wait. When they didn’t understand, he proceeded to speak louder and I think the message finally got across. We as Americans, flashed our passports and were processed quickly through the shuffle of people.
Manhattan, which normally seems to me exciting, seemed dull with people again just talking on cell phones, all doing the same thing dressed in work clothes and coming and going from offices. I saw a Rasta man on a bicycle with a big white beard and a colorful Rastafarian hat making his way down 5th Avenue but even he seemed to be trying desperately to be different in a place full of suited men and women and the flashes of materialism from the young women in designer clothes.
My wife and I walked in a somewhat daze and Sabeen confided that she felt she had a secret that no one knew and that we had just done something really different and felt completely divorced from the monotonous crowds.