19 July 2009
On the Flip Side of the World
It's been a blur of events these past couple of days! We are officially back in Lancaster, PA. Right now we are sitting down at probably the only place we were happy to see again around here - the Prince Street Cafe. They have good coffee, tasty food, and Wifi. Nice place. And we LOVE the weather here! It's so much less humid here than the weather in Suzuka.
The 2 hour flight from the Nagoya airport to the Incheon airport in Seoul, Korea was quick and uneventful. Before we left Nagoya I had to turn in my gaijin card, and had my special stamp/sticker in my passport taken out (also stating my visa status in Japan thus far). I kind of wanted to keep my card! Like, even more proof that I had actually lived in Japan. Haha. Oh well - that new photo of my on the card was really bad anyway. Arrived in Korea at about 2pm. We had a 6 hour layover in Korea, though, so it went slowly - trying to find things to do, trying to kill time. Left Korea at about 8pm. We, of course had an even longer plane trip from Incheon to JFK! I watched 2.5 movies, and tried to sleep but those seats are so damned uncomfortable, but I already knew this...Arrived at JFK at about 8:40pm - factor in different time zones, yadda yadda.
The immigration process at JFK was a little scary and very annoying, in my opinion. Always nice to see people who are so HAPPY to be at work...*rolls eyes*
When we got off the plane, I personally could have gone through the "Citizens" line (which was WAY shorter) than the "Visitors" line with all of the foreigners, but there's no reason to have Takeshi go through the line alone anyway. So I stood in line with him, and we got checked in together. I stood by while the dude checked Takeshi's immigration paperwork and we gave them the address to send his greencard to. We left that station and had to go over to finger printing, and that guy was in an even worse mood than the first dude. It's the kind of mood where you feel like you're suddenly wasting their time. Sooo sorry, sir. Moving along now...
So, we stayed the night in NYC at a decent hotel in a small Korean section of the city. We picked that place in the end, because it was close to Penn Station, and we had (and still have) three pieces of luggage. The one I've been wheeling around is a HUGE and heavy and is really hard to maneuver around, and Takeshi has two smaller luggage pieces but they weigh a ton as well. The next morning we caught an Amtrak train to Lancaster at about 1:20pm and arrived in Lancaster at about 4pm.
Right now we're staying a little motel on the side of the major road, a little ways from the downtown area of Lancaster. It's only $60 a night there, but I'd still like to be at a place where the locks on the door are more...more. Haha. We have a lot to acquire and figure out as quickly as we can manage it - find and rent an apartment in town, buy a used car, find Takeshi a job, and figure out the last parts of getting into college, for me, this September.
As I say - the state of Pennsylvania is closed on the weekends, and so most of the action-taking will start tomorrow, Monday. We plan to see how much renting a P.O. Box at the local post office would cost us, because that would help with getting a car, a bank account, and anyone else who would need us to give an address. We also plan to get a rental car so we can possibly change motels/hotels (yay!) and scout out some job possibilities for Takeshi, because some of them are not within walking distance.
So lots of do. I told Takeshi today that I feel like we're a pair of vagabonds or something! Kind of homeless, too. For the moment anyway. It feels weird being back in the U.S. where I'm not sticking out in a crowd anymore, and I'm not special in any way in public. It does feel good to be able to communicate with people again, but I'm a little shell-shocked and not used to talking to people outright, so it's a little uncomfortable for me, as weird as that sounds. Food-portion size here is borderline gut-busting and a little disgusting for me - I'm focused on not going back to that portion size again.
I will sign off for now! Lots to do. Hope everyone is well and happy!