I'm sitting in the LAX international terminal, waiting for my second flight of the day to board and send me back over the Atlantic and back to Dushanbe. I've had a great time partying for the last several days and now it's time to return to real life.
I'm enjoying the last few minutes of understanding airport announcements and casual conversation. I filled up my water bottle from the drinking fountain and am enjoying free internet while I wait.
It's been a brief interlude from being a stranger in a strange land. One day I was in Central Asia and the next I was back in the motherland eating salad for lunch and picking up a few necessities from Wal-Mart. Usually my trips back to America are treks that require weeks of planning and logistics, but this time I didn't even pack until the day before - and I only packed a carry-on.
I first travel to Frankfurt, then to Istanbul and finally to Dushanbe. Each stop I am further from my culture and my people and closer to my home. I often worry how I will be able to return to a land where things don't work and I can't communicate with a passing stranger. Will I miss being a place will I belong? Will the irritations be more noticeable after a break?
But traveling for three days can soften anyone up and by the time I get back I'm happy to be anywhere that isn't an airplane or airport. Traveling is a never-never land outside of space and time, a place where you wait until you're allowed to reach your destination, a neutral place that belongs to all countries and no countries at once.
My flight is boarding and so it is time to go. Goodbye, America. See you later.