Monday, March 09, 2015

Back from the USA

Willam and Ping at Zoo Atlanta

We've been back from the US for over two weeks. The trip back was much easier than the trip there. William had grown up a lot in the five weeks we were away. He was less fussy and fell asleep more easily. I had a lot more travel-with-baby experience under my belt which made me more confident. I also had a very hellish trip down to Atlanta (never again Spirit Airlines, never again) which made any subsequent travel, even a 14 hour flight from O'Hare to Peking, seem like a piece of cake.

I'm over the jet lag. I've readjusted to eating Chinese food (though I still miss eating the luscious desserts, myriad cheeses, and microbrews of my homeland). I am, more-or-less, back on track. But being back in China is hard. I knew it would be. I miss the freedom I had in America. I was able to mother my baby without the input of random strangers, without the constant fussing of my mother-in-law, and without my husband's frequent anxiety. For the first time, I truly felt like a mom. It was ten months over due.

Ping experiencing Lake Michigan
And it wasn't just the freedom I loved. I reveled in the convenience. As a mother, I can now truly appreciate the wonder of drive thru banking. While I'm embarrassed to admit it, we also cruised the Starbucks (and McDonald's) drive thru a few times. The ease of transporting a baby in a car was awesome and he was safe and sound in a carseat (which have yet to catch on much in China). I also could opt for a stroller over a sling. I don't have this option when I go out alone with William in Chengde as I can't get out of my apartment building alone with the baby with a stroller. I'm not strong enough to carry a 25 pound baby plus 25 pound stroller down six flights of stairs. Even if I was built like the hulk, there is an obstacle course of cars parked on sidewalks, gravel roads, and steps everywhere we go. In the US, you get ramps! elevators! stroller parking! It was a nice break from having to psych myself up for any outings, like I tend to have to do in Chengde.

William and Ping at World of Coca-Cola, Atlanta

As for our itinerary, we spent most of our time split between my hometown of Milwaukee and visiting my best friend and her family who live near Atlanta. We also took a little road trip with my dad and visited my brother's family in Minnesota. I took the kids to a lot of cool places, my favorite being Georgia Aquarium and Ping's favorite being the World of Coca-Cola (where you can try hundreds of sodas from all over the world! You can't put a price on that!) tied with Minnesota where she got to experience sledding, ice fishing, and doing donuts on the middle of a frozen lake. I couldn't have asked for a better trip. While I realize returning to the US to live will be full of many challenges and can't be compared to a five week visit, I am more certain than ever that we will be moving back before the end of this year.

Sleepy William and Silly Ping @Starbucks on Valentine's Day


Sarah - Diariesofayangxifu said...

Sounds Like you had a wonderful time :)

I guess if you've made the decision to return to the US in the near future, it'll help you appreciate things in China for the last while there?

rosieinbj said...

Yes, I'm trying to appreciate my time left here. Honestly, it's hard sometimes. I feel like I just want to get started on the next phase of my life.

Mary O'Halloran said...

Oh my goodness! Your son is SOOO adorable and Ping look so happy to be there!

I think having a car as a mom in the USA definitely makes things so much easier--and I totally forgot about all those flights of stairs in Chinese buildings! You poor thing!

BTW my boyfriend went to med school in Minnesota and he loved it. He said people there are super friendly and it's a really nice place to live (aside from the winter). As much as I love China, I still think the USA is a better place to raise a family.

Glad you made it back in one piece!

rosieinbj said...

Thanks Mary!
I do think, overall, taking care of kids is easier in the US. Of course, it depends on where you live, income level, etc. but I think for us it will be better. And I'm really concerned about getting my step-daughter out of school in China.

The people in Minnesota (and Wisconsin, where I'm from) are usually very friendly and kind. I'm a Midwestern girl at heart. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you had a good time! I have to say though that I am sad you are leaving China. It just wont be the same without you. I feel so connected to you by our numerous shared experiences. Though I am glad you will have fewer trials (I hope!) when you leave, I am sad we won't be "in this together" anymore.

I also struggled with bringing the stroller, and baby down to have an outing where everyone gave their two cents while I tried to maneuver China's sidewalks. Eventually we just left our stroller downstairs and hoped for the best. Thankfully there were mostly sweet old people in our building and nobody stole it.

Good luck to you and I hope you keep blogging!

rosieinbj said...

Thanks Kimberly! I plan to keep writing once we get back to the US. I think it will be interesting to see how we all adjust and what it's like having a multicultural/biracial family in the US.

I BEGGED my husband to just let me keep the stroller in the neighborhood bicycle garage, but he said it would get too dirty.

How is it now that your daughter can walk?