So, hello. It's me again. Or, by now, I'd say that it's a different me than the one who wrote last time. Lots of things have changed since then. New members of the family, two new jobs, a new passion, and perhaps a new lease on life from time to time. Plenty of wandering in the darkness, even more solitude, discovery and re-discovery alike. A bit like finding out who I used to be - someone forgotten from long ago. And, I suppose, after the terrible year that 2016 turned out to be, this missive is a closing paragraph to a soon-to-be-forgotten chapter of my own history.
Four new nieces and nephews (two each). They're busy, exhausting even. Doing babysitting while staying with my parents during Christmastime...well, let's just say that Walt Disney and I became fairly well acquainted. I'm a touch ambivalent about having kids myself, mostly because I don't know if I could keep up with it all, but there's supposed to be something different when it's your own progeny running around screaming. The oldest niece is a real hoot, though - getting her to laugh while saying "I'm not food!", now that's priceless.
New job pays triple what the old one used to. I'm officially a member of the 10% club. Add that to being somewhat hoarder-like with my own savings and you have someone who is doing better financially than he could have ever dreamed. Growing up poor, with the memories of forlorn birthdays and empty Christmas trees, being (relatively) wealthy is something I can't quite wrap my head around. At the same time, I can't stand it. Work is soulless, physically draining (desk job), and the monotony kills me daily. I miss sunlight and fear the onset of cardiovascular disease. I'd rather be less well off and happier doing something that actually makes a difference, even if it involved heavy amounts of manual labor or ran at a more breakneck pace. Boredom is doing me in, so much that I find myself missing school.
Perhaps it's time to go back for a graduate degree, at least for a change of scenery. Fortunately, computer science graduate studies are a pretty good investment, so I don't fear making that leap too much.
But what I find myself missing the most is home. Thirteen and a half years I've been out here, two thousand miles from the closest blood relative. Every time I get on the airplane after Christmas is done, I feel relief from the chaos but simultaneously a pang of homesickness. On today's flight, it was nothing but homesickness - an emotion I've really not encountered since boot camp all those years ago. I find myself not wanting to be here anymore; it's just too much. I'm tired of being alone, of having nowhere I really call home, of waiting for something to happen and then hearing only silence. It's time for action.