I’m not quite sure what to write about my short trip to America. A lot of my friends and family read this blog, and well, I don’t want to insult them or make them feel like I was unhappy to see them. (Because I wasn’t. I was very glad to see everyone again.)

Look, this trip was doomed from the start. The fact is that I wasn’t even supposed to go back to America this summer. I only did it because of the divorce and us having to clean out all our stuff from our home to sell it. So I knew I had to deal with that (and all the problems associated with it.)

What I didn’t know was I would have to deal with a tooth issue. Only a few days into my trip I felt a pulsing pressure in my mouth every time I chewed. It quickly morphed into 2 rounds of antibiotics, 4 bottles of painkillers, a filing, the most retched root canal ever performed (which I am not taking about) and three trips to the dentist without any clear resolution.

It wasn’t an issue of “chewing on the other side of my mouth” as everyone kept trying to tell me. I couldn’t. I couldn’t even open my mouth to talk, much less chew on the non affected side. The pain was so bad that whatever went into my mouth tasted like ash and it was a real chore to get anything down. Even ice cream. The pain was so bad at times that I couldn’t even focus on my friends as they talked. I also couldn’t sleep at night.

I basically came to eat American food and see people, and this tooth problem ruined pretty much everything for me. I also left New Hampshire feeling terribly guilty because I was such a bad guest. I was looking forward to spending a lot of time with a few friends, but instead I woke up grumpy, was out all day at the dentist, and went to bed early without eating much of the amazing homemade food they cooked for me.

But, I should be fair. I had about 5 days before my tooth started bothering me and I wasn’t really having that much fun anyway. I don’t know if it’s a case of reverse culture shock or what, but I felt completely out of sorts the entire trip. Like I was 2 inches off the ground. (And no, I’m not taking about the feeling I had when I was taking percocet.)

Here’s the thing I realized: I no longer belong in America. I’m not sure I ever did. I don’t ‘belong’ in china either, but here, there is no pressure to fit in. I look different, I speak different, no one is ever going to treat me like a native. But in America I should fit in. I’m one of them. But I certainly didn’t feel like it this time.

There’s also the fact that while I arrived as a resident, I left as a visitor. We cleaned up our stuff, packed up the house, and while I consider New Hampshire my hometown, technically I have no home there any longer. (Well, I won’t once it sells. Anyone want a amazing house in a small town in New Hampshire?) Practically speaking, nothing’s changed, I am still a New Hampshire resident. But mentally, every things changed. It’s not mine anymore. It’s now just a place where I have a lot of friends.

I don’t want to be a total Debbie downer. I was happy to see my friend, really, even if I couldn’t really share a meal with them or focus on what they were saying at times. I also marveled at how pretty America was. And how clean and fresh everything was.

Anyway, instead of writing any nitty gritty details I thought I’d share just a few pictures. America, one day I might want to return to you, but don’t expect that day to come anytime soon.

My insanely quaint and picturesque hometown in New Hampshire.


Nobody does steak like America does steak. Luckily I managed to eat 3 big, juicy steaks before my tooth started to bother me. If I didn’t have teeth problem, I estimate I would have eaten maybe 8 or 9 steaks in the two and a half week. What can I say, I’m a meat girl.


I celebrated my birthday in America. It wasn’t the same as celebrating in China, but my friends pulled out all the stops to make it memorable. (And I ended up with 3 birthday cakes all told. Thanks guys!)

Did I mention my NH hometown was quaint and pretty? Because, holy fuck, it really was.

Who the hell needs an iced tea, or any drink, this friggin big?! So big I could barely hold it in my hands! No wonder America has an obesity epidemic. (And by the way, this was only .99 cents. And yes, I drank it all–when you can’t beat them…)

I wasn’t only looking forward to seeing humans, but some friend’s pets as well. All told I snuggled with a lot of cats, and a few dogs, in those 2 weeks. The one cat I didn’t see was my own. As much as I wanted to, I felt like it would be unfair and confusing to her.

Otter Brook stream at my (now former) residence. Did I mention that my NH hometown is beautiful? Well, it is. 


erick · July 11, 2012 at 8:00 pm

No pics of me???

Becky · July 17, 2012 at 2:36 am

Well, I had a cute one of Tim I was thinking of using, but I didn’t know if you wanted me to put pics of your kid on the internet.

erick · July 27, 2012 at 8:35 pm

Good point…..

And So Begins Year 4 | Writer. Traveler. Tea Drinker. · September 2, 2012 at 5:28 am

[…] time realizing that the fun is over. Can you blame me? In the past three months, I went back to America, took a few trips to Shanghai, spent a month learning Chinese in Kunming and made a ton of new […]

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