It has happened. We are officially happy here. I know we are supposed to be sacrificing - earning the badge, so to speak - but ooops, we up and fell in love with this place.
I love the weather. I love the mysterious flocks of dragonflies that flit about in the air outside our screen-less bathroom window as I take a shower, 12 stories above the ground.
I love it that I have a favorite butcher, and a favorite grocer, and a favorite spot to buy milk (even if the milk tastes very little like the milk in the good old U.S. of A.)
I love to watch the elderly as they wake early to stretch, drink tea, and smoke tobacco from long brass pipes. The women meet for ancient dancing in the courtyard, every evening that it doesn't rain, slowly moving their seasoned limbs through the air, holding costume swords or large red fans, while their ring-ting music floats up to the tops of the tall buildings all around.
I love the smell of the food stir-frying in the shop-owners woks as they prepare their lunches and then prepare to close down their shops for the mid-day nap.
I love the snacks that people eat. Instead of Cheetos or Combos, kids are plucking roasted corn from the cob, or sunflower seeds from the actual flower. Toddlers are chewing on chicken feet, and business women on their lunch breaks are gobbling fruit and pickled vegetables.
All of these things were so strange to me last year that I couldn't even begin to enjoy them. I was simply trying to keep myself culturally afloat. But now, after one year in East Asia, I am finally able to look around me and say, "This is good. This is home."