Before I left for Turkmenistan, I was back in the Bay Area for an extended period of time. I haven’t spent that much time in California since I started working. It might have even been about as much time as all the other previous trips back combined. Regardless, it was a time that was both long and short. It was ultimately longer than I had expected to stay and long in a strict chronological sense. However, it had a endless feeling of shortness with the expectation that I might leave quite abruptly. With this dynamic, it was frustrating to be unable to make meaningful medium-term plans and be perpetually expecting some news about my visa.
Despite the frustration, my extended time at home was quite meaningful and enjoyable. It gave me a chance to reconnect with family and friends and everything had a more ‘adult’ air. Of course, I am still in many ways an overgrown man-child as noted when I was out to dinner with my brother and others one evening and upon entering the restaurant I remarked, “Oh, this is an grown-up restaurant.” By that, I meant it had the food and atmosphere of a place you would not likely find children or teenagers, or at least not ones who thought it would be a good place to revisit. I can, upon need, “age it up” but I am a largely casual person. Additionally, work has always been mostly casual as the business cares much more about results than any variation of looks and appearance. Perhaps the one great exception is that if there are problems with a piece of a equipment then it damn well better look like it has been well maintained. Regardless, work is hardly pulling me into the world of three-piece suits and bowler hats.
Back to the enjoyable aspect of my time at home. Not only did I reconnect with people, now that I have my coming work rotation, there is the sense that I will not become such a stranger anymore. There was also a mildly running joke amongst my friends that Turkmenistan is so far-flung, that I might not come back. I can assure you that I have a return ticket that I intend to use. It is also not too terribly far away with its paltry 12 hour time zone difference. It was good to see so many people and see “home” or at least the closest facsimile to where one of my own might one day be.
I appreciate the time everyone made for me, and have previously made for me all the other times I have darted in and out of the Bay Area like the vagabond I have become. It is high time I acknowledge that people are busy and have lives and jobs and families to tend to in contrast to me being on vacation whenever I have been in town. Thanks everyone for your time. I’ll be back in August. And I have been taking pictures, maybe.