There’s no place like home.


Anders and I arrived back home in Guangzhou last night around 6:30 and promptly headed to our favorite German restaurant. It was a nice time to reflect on our amazing week in Bali. I still need to process that experience before I write a post or two or three about it. I have included  a few photos today to whet your appetite to make you tune in for more later this week. I’m devious. I’ll dangle the carrot to get you to come back. 😉

I wanted to write today about how it felt to come home. We all know the adage ” Home is where the heart is.” I think that when one moves the real test about where they call home comes after moving, going on a holiday, and coming back. How does it feel when you open the front door? Are you looking forward to returning to your abode? Will you breathe a sigh of relief when you drop your bags in the foyer and plop on the sofa? No matter how wonderful the vacation or trip I believe that if you truly love your home you’ll anticipate your return.

Yes, he's #1 wherever he goes in the world

I was looking forward to coming home to GZ and I’m not just talking about our apartment. Ben picked us up in Shenzhen, China which is across the harbor from Hong Kong. As weird as it sounds, HK is still not really part of China. You must go through the immigration/passport control thing upon entering and leaving HK. We had someone else pick us up at the airport in HK, drive us across the border to have our passports stamped, and then on to a rendezvous point with Ben. Our HK driver knew Ben, of course. I don’t think there is a person in all of China that doesn’t know him! Slight exaggeration I know but you get my point. Anyway, it was then a 1:45 drive home and instead of returning to our bubble we went straight to dinner. Anders and I snagged a table in the front window and watched GZians go by. After about 20 minutes I said to Anders that I really love GZ and I felt like I was home. This is the first place that we’ve ever moved that I have felt so comfortable in such a short amount of time. I can’t put my finger on why. No place could be more different in terms of culture and language and it’s certainly the largest city I’ve ever lived in yet it seems easy.

View from our "backyard"

I can’t tell you how nice it was to return after 8 days away, open the door to our apartment  and see our own things instead of the Complex furnishings. I had one week from the time our sea shipment arrived to when we left for our trip but I knew I would have it done for two reasons. First is that I hate coming home to disorganization and second, I knew that I wanted the apartment to be “ours” when we returned. To throw in another reason I wanted to start the settling in process as soon as possible as well. I’ve had no routine, no schedule, and no real purpose. Before we left it was all about finishing the immigration process, getting somewhat acclimated, making friends, and putting our apartment together. Now I feel like I can throw myself into Mandarin, find a volunteer job, cultivate the friendships I’ve started, and enjoy the opportunities at the Guangzhou Women’s International Club. I start with a book club meeting tomorrow and I actually read the book!

Having lived in an almost empty house for 5 weeks in Cincinnati and then a furnished apartment for another 8 weeks, it was comforting to see our leather couch, our armoire for coats because we haven’t had a hall closet in the last 4 homes we’ve lived in, family photos, and our  bed that isn’t just a mattress on a platform. I’m sure that some people believe that it’s not those things that make a house a home but I disagree. They are things that we’ve made a conscious choice to have in our home: we like them, we see them every day, and they are familiar. They are just things but they are things that we want in order to make our home comfortable for us. So yes, it was good to see them.

Then there’s Lily who makes our home feel special. She was meowing, rubbing against our legs, and followed us everywhere. She was definitely happy to see us. As bratty as she can be we always know that when we’ve been away she’ll be happy to see us. Ben said that he never saw her but knew she was alive because she vomited twice and her cat toy was in a different place every time he came to check on her. In the past she has sometimes acted miffed for being left alone but because she’s moved a few, several,  a lot of times I think that she’s afraid we’ll leave her somewhere. Now she makes sure we know that she missed us. She’ll be back to her normal, slightly aloof self in a few days.

So whether you go away for a long weekend or an extended holiday, I hope that you anticipate returning to your home because it’s where you are the happiest and most comfortable.

5:30 PM – 92°


About vikarenously

I am an ex-pat living in Guangzhou, China. I am married to the man of my dreams who has indulged my love of travel by working hard enough to snag two international assignments. Oh yes, I also have two amazing children who accompanied us on our first one to Switzerland and are now mature and responsible adults which makes it so easy for us to experience this adventure as empty-nesters. Experience it vicariously with Karen.

7 responses »

  1. Bali sounds like just what you both needed and am glad you felt you were home when you returned to GZ.

    I’ll report to the coffee group Mon. Judy just called and said to send you hugs and Klaus sends kisses.


    • Please give Judy, Klaus, and yourself hugs and kisses right back. Tell Klaus that Tessa has a sister to play with. Her family adopted another greyhound about a month after they got Tessa. SHe’s a happy camper!

      Love, ME

  2. Hey Kim. You’ve moved enough times to know how important it is to feel like you’re home. Nothing says home like having your own things around you. Have fun at book club and give Jan a birthday hug from me.

  3. Looks like you had a fantastic time, but welcome back! I get exactly what you are saying, I always try to unpack as quickly as possible to make wherever we are “home”, seems to make settling a little easier!
    You made me laugh over the German restaurant, after a week in Singapore and India, that is exactly what Muir did on his return to Beijing!

      • his secretary sounds like Ben, I will get him to ask her! She seems to be a miracle worker in most things. She helps him translate when google translate comes up with English that is also incomprehensible!
        Enjoy the coffee!

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