I’ve made it back to Jinan. I’m so glad I asked to fly via Beijing. Originally, I was to go through Shanghai, which would mean a 7 1/2 hour layover. Three of the teachers who flew via Shanghai missed their connection and were stuck overnight. (Evidently, coming from New York the layover was much shorter.)
I’ll meet some of the new teachers for lunch. I hope we’ve got a congenial group since there have been times when we’ve had a high percentage of hermits who don’t want to socialize. Living in Jinan, that’s a problem as the language barrier and other factors limit the friendship possibilities.
It’s a bit odd returning as coming back to China or the US, while familiar, is a transition between cultures. While I’m authentic in each country, I think I adjust my personality and expectations for each. Expats have to. Between jet lag and the cultural shifts the first few days “back home” have a Twilight Zone feel. I remember my friend Kristi saying that she welcomed the long flight between Japan and the US and the jet lag as these experiences help ease one back into a new place. The jet lag does give you permission or a right to take it easy, not accomplish every task at once and to operate at high speed. While I pay a price in grogginess, there are benefits for jet lag.