I flew into San Francisco from Incheon, South Korea on Saturday, the 23rd of July. Customs was fairly simple and didn't take too long, however, I highly recommend giving yourself a two hour window for connections or you might end up running to your next gate with your shoes in your hand. Once I arrived at Washington-Dulles it was just a matter of getting my bags and shuttling to Budget to rent my car. I drove a few minutes south and stayed at a Marriott in Westfields. Gorgeous place. It was night and I was exhausted and I hadn't thought much about being back home.
On Sunday, I slept in, ordered room service and then left the hotel rested and refreshed. I was given a Toyota Corolla to drive and after driving my little Hoopty in Korea, I must say it was a really nice change of pace. I don't think I have driven over 40 miles per hour since I left home over a year ago and to be able to drive over 60 again was such a great feeling. Not to mention that the roads seemed wide enough for two and there were no pedestrians! As I was driving and listening to stations that were NOT AFN, and enjoying the wide roads, I realized that I had missed it here. Immensely!
I passed farms and farmer's markets, recognizable store signs, traffic signs I could read, and mountains that rose in the distance. There were houses large and small, and businesses large and small, and just an amazing openness of space. I had lived in wall to wall buildings and with wall to wall people for so long that I had forgotten how it felt to live and drive in wide open spaces.
As I sang along with the radio I realized that while I really enjoyed living in Seoul, and experiencing another culture, nothing will ever replace my country. This way of life that is so good. It gives me a new found pride in my home, in my country - something to fight for. And that feels good.
I have missed my America.