Home Sweet Home

I’m back!  Back in the town I was born in.  Back on the streets where I grew up playing cops and robbers.  Back at the place I had my first kiss.  Back at the place where I graduated from high school.  Back at the place where I was able to prove myself career wise because some great individuals dared to take a chance on me.  BACK HOME!

After arriving home Sunday evening I hopped in the shower and at 9PM I reunited with one of my best friends.  Also the cohost of my radio show, he was always a phone call away anytime I needed to talk to someone about some issue I was dealing with abroad.  It was good to see him and catch up.  It was nice to return to the war room where he and I planned many of our excursions abroad.  It was good to be back home!

Day 1: Running on Fumes

After waking up and getting ready, I returned to my old job to say hello to my old colleagues.  It was great to see them and catch up!  I spent five days a week with these guys for three and a half years!  I missed them!  After that I went home and had lunch with my girlfriend.  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention in my last post that she also decided to take the trip to NY with me to experience an American Christmas!  After lunch it was off to American Glory – An old fire station turned into a BBQ restaurant.  This place was the perfect spot for me to meet up with old friends on my return.  As mentioned, this place was an old firehouse and it happened to be the old firehouse that my father belonged to.  Many days were spent here when I was younger.  I even was a part of this firehouse as a junior fireman a year before my dad passed away.  A good place to bring back some old memories.  That night I met several of my friends and even one of my old colleagues who just got back from a two year stint teaching English in Korea. Another person who left New York for Asia.  Although we lived in different places in Asia it was nice to talk about some of the similarities.  It was a great night, but by the end my jet lag was really kicking in.

Day 2: Christmas Eve

This was probably the worst day of my return.  I had a lot of plans, but due to jet lag I opted to sleep away most of the day.  When I woke up it was 7PM and we were running late to go to my cousins house where a lot of my mom’s side of the family would be gathering for dinner and drinks.  At 8PM we finally were ready to go.  On the way to the car my mom slipped on some black ice.  An ambulance ride and 2 hours later my moms prediction was confirmed – broken knee.  Christmas Eve in the hospital.  We were greeted by Santa while in the hospital… He was there with an ice pack on his face after getting in a bar brawl… American Christmas… I can only imagine what was going through my girlfriends mind!  My mom was lucky enough to return home at about midnight.  And my girlfriend and I were able to see my family members as some of them visited us in the hospital and we also stopped out to my cousins at about 1AM to keep them up a little later then they planned.

Day 3:  Christmas in New York

My mom, my girlfriend and I woke up that morning to Christmas gifts under the Christmas tree.  Not as many as when I was younger, but enough to show my girlfriend the traditions that my family and most American families have.  Santa had made it to our house!  This was all new for my girlfriend as her family does not celebrate Christmas like we Americans do.  For her family, Christmas is a day to get together and go to church, but after church bombings in Indonesia when she was growing up her family has since decided to avoid church.  We opened our gifts and then my girlfriend and I went to my fathers side of the family for Christmas dinner.  It was nice to see all of them!  We only stayed for dinner and then we brought food back to my mom as she was unable to go with her knee.  Time for another nap… Still jet lagged!  That nap turned into sleeping until the next day.

Day 4 – 8: Family – Friends – Fun

The title basically sums up these days.  A lot more catching up and hanging out with friends and family.  A few nights on the town sprinkled in between.  A fun time!  Nothing less!  I was also able to broadcast live in studio for my radio show on day 7… Much easier then calling in on my cell phone every two weeks!

Before I knew it it was my last night in New York!  Day 9 was only hours away, the day I would depart back to Singapore.  My last night I went back to my friends where I first went to on the first night I returned.  We hung out in the war room and talked about more crazy travel ideas.  We said our goodbyes and I returned home and went to bed.

Day 9 – New Years Eve

I woke up on this day knowing I was only hours away from once again leaving behind New York for Singapore.  I thought I would be ready to go back home, but I was a bit conflicted.  I didn’t get to see a lot of people I had hoped to on my trip.  I also did not know what my future holds in Singapore.  My contract was expiring on January 31st.  Would I get extended?  If not, would I be able to find a new job?  Where would I be in a month?  All questions that I was not able to answer on this day.  Nonetheless, no risk no reward!  I came to Singapore to accomplish many things!  Although I’ve accomplished most, it was time to return and finish off what I had started!  Get extended at my job or fight for a new job and continue growing!

I spent the morning hanging out with my mom.  I knew she would miss me the most out of everyone I encountered over the previous 9 days, but it seemed she knew it was time for me to return on my journey.  And she was in full support of that!

It was a tradition of ours to always wish each other Happy New Year in person or by phone within a couple minutes of the ball dropping.  So how would we do it this year when I would be flying with no cell service at midnight EST?  Very simple!  Celebrate New Years Singapore time!!!  11AM!!!  And that’s just what we did with a sip of wine (no champaign at the house) at 11AM EST – Midnight SST.

An hour later it was on to the train station to take us to NYC and then back to JFK for the long journey back to Singapore.

Déjà vu… Just like the first time I flew to Singapore for vacation (departing Super Bowl Sunday).  I could say again this New Years Eve…

While most American’s would be spending their night watching the ball drop, drinking beer and eating food with friends, I would be spending it 30,000 feet in the air.  Over cities and towns across multiple countries and continents.  If you ask me, I was right where I belong!

Don’t get me wrong, I had my doubts about leaving New York, but while I was on the plane from JFK to Abu Dhabi I had a great conversation with a gentleman from Pakistan.  We both were curious about each others cultures.  Not what we have read in the paper or seen on television, but the truth!  I knew then that this cultural journey I am on is where I need to be!  This journey that is forcing me to grow as an individual can only lead me to one place… Or should I say many many more places throughout this world.  Maybe someday I’ll even be writing all of you from the moon or another planet… You see… Anything Is possible!

33 hours later I was back in Singapore… Back on the journey!!! Back where I currently belong…

DAY 230!

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