back and bemused
I don't know if it's because I smuggle back Vietnamese snack food whenever I visit my parents or because I'm on some watch list, but I always get the "your bag has been inspected" slip from TSA. Hmmm. If I don't get to have my tamarind candy and seafood-flavored chips, the terrorists win.
I did nothing but babysit and watch TV at my parents'. I am completely unproductive. This shall be taken into account in planning future visits. I'm also lazy about going outside, because you have to drive everywhere and there's nothing interesting to see if you take a walk anyway, and it's not runner-friendly in my neighborhood. All went well though--no extreme dysfunction, for now. Much food was eaten. Consequently, the first thing I did when I got back was to take a long walk in the dark. Ah, to go somewhere and not have to say where you're going, what time you'll be back, and in my antiquated patriarchy of a family, get permission to go. Much less walking in the dark, which to my father is a recipe for rape, no matter how bourgie the neighborhood is or how well populated by crowds of college students in the hours of 8 pm to 9 pm.
There's something to that, but part of what I love about my neighborhood is its walkability, which has contributed greatly to my independence. I am still occasionally concerned about personal safety, and am thus always watchful, but goodness I love walking by myself. While I love getting a ride to the airport or help with carrying heavy groceries, I get by on my own for the most part. I shop with a rolling backpack and several reusable green bags from TD's work, and I take buses and trains. I live a mile from the train, but only 0.2 miles from the nearest bus stop, and most of the time I walk to the train or school. Independence has perhaps emboldened me too much, but whenever I go back to Orange County, where you always need a car and where my paranoid father insists that I don't go out after dark, I totally want to take back the night! It's as much living without fear as it is living without constraint, and this way I don't let the terrorists win.
It was nice to see the family, and always good to see the kids, but it's also good to be back home, and I realize with a slightly painful twang that this home to me, not mom and dad's.