It is done. On March 19th, 2016 at about 10pm local time, after almost 20 months of happily wandering the world, I crossed the border into Canada. The following evening, I reached my parents house. I’ll be calling it home until I go back to work.
Since last time, we backpacked through Cambodia, which was great. The country is really just one pleasant surprise after another. We saw so much awesomeness and potential there. Like in every developping country we visited, I was continuously frustrated at how all these good people are stuck with such shit, corrupt governments. (If there’s anything I picked up on the trip, it’s a deep, deep hatred for corruption and poor ressource management. I know there are a lot of factors at play in why some countries fall behind in development, but I feel like the obvious common denominator is that there’s a handful of greedy, incompetant assholes who have all the power. Reduce corruption at the top, develop solid way of distributing ressources and quality of life will improve dramatically.)
After Cambodia, we spent 10 days in Tokyo. Amusingly, our digestive tracts HATE Japan. We travelled carelessly through so many unsanitary developping countries with only rare discomfort, yet ultrahygenic, superclean Japan had us clutching our bellies and howling in pain for the entirety of both of our visits there. I was less affected so I loved Japan anyway, but Ed made me promise to never let him go back.
On our flight back to the US, we were able to stretch our layover in Hong Kong out a few days. To me, Hong Kong looked like Singapore, if Singapore let itself go for, like, a decade. It seemed like the city was build up in the 20ish years following WWII, and then never touched again. I was still fascinated and would have happily stayed for a week. We were rushed, trying to explore the city, learn about its history and eat its famous food in just two days. It’s expensive, though. Even the cheapest, shittiest rooms were above 40$CAN (and Hong Kong shitty is shitty. Probably safe from crime and pretty clean, but in scary, decrepit buildings, with rooms so small you can’t even get the door open.) Our interesting discovery in Hong Kong is that locals like foreign food so much that it’s actually hard to find traditional Hong Kong restaurants, and even harder to find ones you can afford. After it was too late, an avid traveller friend of mine explained that the good places are like on the 10th floor of an unmarked building, so if you want to taste Hong Kong, you have to ask the locals.
And on March 1, we arrived in the US. The flight was uneventful. Cathay Pacific was a comfortable airline with excellent in-flight entertainment. Between watching the full 10th season of Friends and drifting in and out of sleep, I didn’t even notice that I was crammed into a plane for 15 hours.
In my mind, my time in the US was going to be boring and relaxing (to me those words are often synonyms), but it really wasn’t. We had Ed’s immigration and move to worry about, and wedding planning, and my job hunting. I did get a lot sleep in the beginning, but the days were full of researching stuff, making invitations, visiting friends, packing up belongings, shopping for things we couldn’t get in Canada, and fulfulling obligations to Ed’s family. It was pretty fun, I really can’t complain! But it certainly wasn’t boring! The closest I’ve come, even now, to picking up gaming again is catching up on silly Farmville-style phone games.
These days I’m still working on the job hunting. There isn’t a huge rush on it yet since I don’t want to start until after the wedding (it would be bad form to ask for a week off to get married within the first two months of a new job), but I would like to know where I’m going so I can start planning the move. The main ideas right now are up North (my first choice – it’s a unique adventure, but the jobs are rare and the move will be annoying), begging for my old job back (great location, great team, great money, lots of improvements since I left, but no new experiences) and hospital job in rural Newfoundland (not the Arctic, but still an experience I’d enjoy, easy to drive to from where I am now and I really want hospital experience. The pay cut is steep, however, more than half of my previous income. It would be fine if I was 15+ years into my career, but after travelling for two years, I feel like I have to save back up before I can stop thinking about money.)
And then there’s wedding planning. It was really frustrating while we were on the road. I didn’t want to think about decorations, caterers, cakes or even colours! But things are slowly coming together. It’s an ultrasmall (pretty much immediate family only, so dear friends, please don’t be hurt), nontraditional ceremony and reception, which helps with the last minute stuff (getting food and accomodation for 30 is infinetely less complicated than for 300!), but I feel until we have everything squared away, I won’t rest easy. All of our guests (besides my parents and the hired help) are from far away, so I want to make sure they have a good time. And, as adverse to traditions as I am, I have to admit that I am excited to party with our families.