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December 22nd, 2014:

Wonderful Anonymity

I enjoy living in Asia, but my white face, big nose and facial hair make me stand out. I’m used to getting stared at in China, and it doesn’t bother me anymore, but the knowledge that someone is probably always looking at me can be inconvenient. If my nose itches, for example, can I safely scratch it without some stranger thinking that I’m picking my nose? When I have to buy toilet paper, will people notice what brand I buy and speculate about my hygiene habits? How much will people read into the fact that I buy this brand of cola instead of that brand? It gets a little tedious.

Back in the U.S., though, I blend right in. My wife and I went grocery shopping the other day, and the only reason that we received some second glances was probably because we were talking to each other in Chinese. I selected my fresh blueberries, browsed the wine selection, loaded my purchases into the car, and didn’t get stared at once. Bliss!

How celebrities and public figures deal with the lack of privacy every day is a mystery to me. If I couldn’t enjoy a little anonymity in the U.S., I’d probably go crazy.

Home for the holidays

One of the benefits of serving overseas is R&R. The purpose of R&R is to ease the stress of living in a foreign country. I am currently taking an R&R.

The benefit isn’t very big. The benefit really only consists of a plane ticket to a specific R&R location. For people serving in China, the location is Sydney, Australia. I chose to go home instead. I have to use my vacation time to cover time away from the office. Luckily for me, there are several holidays within the two weeks that I am on vacation.

So I am home for Christmas. Being back together with my family is a wonderful feeling.

My to-do list for this time back in America largely consists of food that I want to eat. My wife made her marvelous lasagne for my first dinner home. We’re off to a great start.