Tack on the bit where I still don't know what language to use for casual utterances. "Za" is "well!", "so..." and "let's go!" "Xie-xie" and "ni hao" are firmly rooted in my automatic responses to service people. I say "dank u vel" to friends and acquaintances. I say "petrol" and bite back the urge to write "tyre." Is "tak" yes or thanks? Is it "ney" or "nyet" or "no"? Should I really be saying "te" instead of "yeah" almost universally?
I wake up some days shocked that I don't have to figure out where we're going tomorrow and how to get there. There is still anger and regret for the accident, for the collision in Warsaw, for the harassment by the police in Poland and Mongolia. I still cry at the thought of yelling "look, we were both sober, and corivax needs to get to a hospital and so do I!" while the police insinuate for the twentieth time that one of us was drunk, and whoever was drunk was driving. I still loathe that feeling of impotence and being lost and afraid.
But it's a big, wide, scary world. The world at home had its own surprises laying in wait that would make a crooked Polish cop blush. Ignoring the turmoil of the economy which made our exchange rate the stuff of nightmares, we came home to landlords who decided they weren't going to have us as month-to-month tenants anymore since they couldn't get in to our apartment. They couldn't get in because they never fixed the broken lock on the front door and we weren't going to leave it unattended while we walked upon distant lands. Nevermind that they were out of the country for the weeks before we left so we could never give them a heads up.
And all of our problems are small compared to many we saw along the way. First world problems impact the daily life and happiness of first world people as much as any of the worlds I've seen are impacted by their problems. They're still problems, things still don't work.
More than anything, I am amazed at how much we got to see, how much I got to experience. It's the sort of thing that really makes you love the planet you live on and the people you share it with. For me, it carries a special weight about the size of things, the scale of things, and the reality of our not-quite-sphere and our not-quite-awareness of it. We get to live on a flat Earth, day to day, but I always had a hard time with that before. Now it's so big I can barely think about it, and so small that I can have seen with my eyes all around it. It's humbling and horrifying. I hope it's not once in a lifetime. Thanks very much to everyone who supported us along the way - I hope everyone gets to see that much of this planet in their time on it.
Getting into processing photos so we'll have something to show at our upcoming, unexpected, housewarming party. When I get an album together, I'll post it here for everyone. Until next time, so long.