so tomorrow my uncle is driving me to the airport early in the morning on his way to work for my flight from chiang kai-shek international airport to nagoya to chicago to boston. i'm filled with mixed emotions, so close to returning home. i just got back from a weekend in the yilan countryside with my cousin and his girlfriend (visiting waterfalls, eating to bursting, and living in a sweet 4 star hotel overlooking green rice paddies from the 17th floor), quickly visited a friend of my father's, before finally having the time to pack my luggage. i had a moment of packing crisis when i realized i needed a bigger suitcase to fit everything, but my 2nd aunt and grandmother came over to help me organize and i was finally able to fit it all. i was dismayed to discover that some burmese ceramic souvenirs i'd bought have already been crushed during the transit between myanmar and taiwan (they were cheap anyway, not too great a loss). afterwards i went to a buffet dinner for my younger cousin's college graduation yesterday. the last time i saw him he was 14 years old, he looked totally different now. afterwards my cousin eric brought me back home on his scooter.

so this is it. the end. good bye asia, hello america. i don't think i have the traveling bug but i wish i could stay in taipei a little longer, like a few more months. i have very complex feelings about taiwan, but i could definitely live here, no problem adjusting. taipei is at the same time familiar and strange to me, if anyone can understand what i mean.

i'm not looking forward to the 22 hour flight home, but if it means getting me closer to cambridge, my smile will only grow bigger the closer i get to my real home. i'm just crossing my fingers that my luggage doesn't get searched in chicago, it was hard business packing everything.

what do i miss most? just being ordinary, surrounded by the mundane. i've seen too much, time for a rest. the real vacation is when you actually come back from your vacation.

sometimes i think back, and the past 3 months seem like a dream...the kind of dream where you wake up 15 lbs. lighter, tanned like you lived on the sun, and a whole crap load of travel photos.

going home!

yellow watermelons

waves crashing on the northeast coast

northeastern coast

coastline highway

hsu lee graduation dinner