China, Travel

Look, Ma! No Tears!

Look, Ma! No tears!

Yesterday I made my way from San Francisco to Hong Kong, arriving in the wee hours of the morning. Trouble-free, I made my way through the city via the Airport Express and its accompanying shuttle bus to the Kowloon ferry terminal.* Ferry ticket purchased, I impatiently waited for boarding time. Though it wasn’t even 8 AM, Hong Kong was already sweltering. The layers of clothing I’d shed were making my hand luggage that much heavier and I was afflicted by that every-traveler’s desire to just BE there already! Finally settled on the ferry, I dozed and reflected on my painless journey back to China.

A major reason for deciding to return to China was its status as a known. As nice as it sounds to surf from country to country every year, two years in I was already thinking twice about a third country in so many years. (That’s not, of course, implying that more countries won’t be in my future. Just that the moves might not always occur on an annual basis.)

The wisdom of my decision became apparent in the San Francisco airport. The family had accompanied me to the airport, which, to be clear, I very much appreciated, but it naturally makes for a more emotional leave-taking process. Last year’s goodbyes were extremely weepy, literally beginning as we pulled out of the driveway and culminating in frantic waving and coursing tears as I made my way through security.** They were honest tears, which I don’t regret, but I guess I hoped for a little less drama this year.

Boy, did I get my wish! Those reportedly cool cucumbers could’ve learned a thing or two from us. It was an entirely tear-free event, which I didn’t think was possible, certainly not for me. Several rounds of hugs were exchanged: near the airline counter, half-way to security, and at security. And then the family calmly waved and departed and I made my way through security, composed and clear-eyed.

So not only does the return to a familiar place have benefits for me, but it also offers the same benefits to my family. Not that I think they generally are losing too much sleep over me, but I know I am in their thoughts and prayers while I’m away. And my mother certainly operates as emotional support and counselor in all my traveling and acclimatizing. She’s a very sympathetic soul, my mother. And hopefully her dear heart will be comforted knowing that I am not venturing into a complete unknown, but rather just picking up the threads of an adventure well underway.

Not that I expect this to be a challenge-free year. Yes, some issues will just pick up where I left them and others will surely present themselves in time. So, please, don’t forget about me! All thoughts and prayers warmly appreciated! Though, in general, I anticipate a smooth transition and a good year.

A smiling face waiting for me outside the ferry terminal and a dim sum feast absolutely positively had nothing to do with all these strangely un-Amy like, optimistic vibes. Nothing. Zilch.

*Hong Kong International Airport, with its integrated transportation to/from the airport, is truly a marvel.

**I’m convinced that this year’s departure was made that much easier by the lack of a dear, dear feline to take leave of. How can you not feel terrible leaving behind a pet to which your absence cannot be explained?

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