We were delighted to hear that our school had decided to lengthen our winter break from 5 to 7 weeks to save on utilities. Paid vacation weeks I might add. I had ruled out going home for the break up to this point but now that I could make it home for my birthday, Christmas and be home for one month my mind was made up. My birthday is December 23, it lasted 38 hours; began in Shanghai, checked in in Detroit and ended in my own bed in Cross Lanes, WV. With the help of a friend (Big C) I was able to surprise my parents by knocking on the front door during dinner. As expected they were ecstatic to see me and I was glad to be home. No matter where I go, even if I am living elsewhere, West Virginia will always be home to me. The first ten or so days between the hours of 4pm and 5am I was quite sloth like on the couch from jet lag.
Seeing new stores in the mall and swerving around new potholes in the road I quickly came to the realization for the first time in my life, I don’t live here anymore. I had lived on my own in college and only came home a few times a semester, but I was only about an hour away, but this, this was different. Just something to push me closer to a quarter-life crisis (growing up is my biggest fear). I’m going to give a shout out to a teacher here. Casey, who enlightened me on this quote that I kept thinking about at home by Mark Jenkins, “Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagined it to be….This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.”[/i] Its true. I am the same person I was before I embarked on this excursion but perspectives and opinions change and even when you come home you see things differently. I felt strange, like there are two Zac’s; China Zac and at home Zac. I can’t explain it but I don’t know how spies and people undercover can keep it all straight. The time at home was great for the first three weeks. By the time the last week came around I was suffering from severe cabin fever and getting the itch to hit the road again. Not to leave home and family behind but just ready to experience something else new. Hopefully this itch will subside with age, because I know in the back of my mind sooner or later I’ve got to come home and go to some type of graduate/law school, find a job and grow up.
So one month at home, saw everyone, birthday, Christmas, New Years, etc. Now where? This whole time I had hoped to go to Nepal over break and hike to base camp at Everest but the 15-day trek did not match up with my return flight or the date I had to be back at work. So I chose three weeks in Thailand. If one night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble, what would five nights do to a mere mortal like me?
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