I’m HOME. I’m home, I’m home, I’m home!

We left Jaipur one thousand hours ago after many teary goodbyes. We had a chaotic, tummy churning, 6-hour drive from Jaipur to Delhi and when we arrived at the Delhi airport we were told our 3:35 AM flight was CANCELLED. I started to freak but realized that we had all the time in the world and we both decided to be the nicest canceled customers ever.

Turns out we got a better flight! HA! On our first flight, we had a 4-hour layover in Frankfurt. On our re-booked flight, we got a DIRECT FLIGHT to Chicago. And it was leaving almost two hours earlier! PERFECT.

I spent a tight 14 hours wedged between two Indians and the moment our plane touched down, I started to cry. At first, it was just regular “I’m so tired, I’m so glad we’re home” tears but soon, stronger tears came. By the time we reached immigration, it was pretty close to an ugly cry.

There were many kinds of tears in my cry. There were so many Indian people on our plane and I felt a strong sense of “you’re in my world now, Indians!” India was hard, right? We all know this but the relief was physical as well as mental like I laid down an entire metal suit of armor. It all gets normalized while you’re there of course and it wasn’t until we landed that I felt just how heavy that armor was.

I cried because I love this city so much, this is also no surprise, but I suppressed it while we were away. I think I was testing it to see if it was a true love. It is! We’re staying at a hotel by the airport for the night and I even love it here at the airport.

And the big T and Republicans aside, I was happy to be back in America. I have lots of thoughts on America right now, mostly positive (current political feelings aside which make me feel awful about America), but it’s easy, see. Everything costs what it costs, people stay in their lanes on the road, no one stares. I am a woman of order (because I’m an American) and it’s nice to be back in a place where order is respected goddamnit!

You know what else? THE DIVERSITY. The diversity of this country! After being in India for so long, one forgets that we all come in all different colors and bodies. Getting off the plane in Chicago was so BAM! I almost hugged the black women at customs. It felt so good to see all the different colors. This is THE GREATEST PART of our country. It’s overwhelming to me how beautiful our diversity is and it upsets me, now more than ever, how anyone would want us all to be the same. The strength we have in our differences, I just can’t even.

But it’s Chicago most of all. The air smelled like rain and the lake, the gray wind was blowing and I’m just so relieved.

I know FOR SURE that John and I gave our time in India 100%. And for me, giving 100% to Jaipur was character-building, strength-building and totally worth it – but it was HARD. It was hard putting on my armor every single day just to go outside. And it got really normal after awhile, as it should. But I had no idea just how hard I was building myself up every day until I walked off the plane back to my world again.

I’m ready for my feelings to be all over the place but for now, I am SO happy to be back and if I think about it long enough, the tears start to roll again.

LOOK! IT’S THE EL!! I LOVE THE EL!!!

Sweet Home Chicago