In the past month, I rented a Nissan Xterra that I drove over 4,000 miles from New Orleans to Mobile, Al, to Jacksonville, FL, back to Mobile, and then out to Austin, TX. We took a four day cruise to the Bahamas, joined my brother and other family members beachside in Pensacola, visited my sister in Austin, visited and chatted with other old friends in the Texas area, and spent a little time in Louisiana. To top it all off, we had a BBQ with my nephew and brother, and other family members just before returning to Hanoi.
All of that and more, but most importantly, I re-seeded my daughter in Mobile, Alabama where she will attend the University of South Alabama for - hopefully - the next four years. The amount of effort involved in getting resettled back in the U.S., just for my daughter, was not a small feat. It gave me great insight as to what I will have to do when I finally go back. The costs that we as Americans incur on a daily basis in the form of services - communications, transportation, insurance, etc - is overwhelming to me.
Leaving my daughter in Mobile as Diep and I headed back to Hanoi was profoundly sad. As excited as I was for her and her future, I had no idea until the day we left how much I would miss her. I felt like I had a hole in my stomach... a feeling I haven't had since Mom passed away.
I have three days at home before I have to go back to work. Things will get frantic then. This is the calm before the storm.