I get what it was like for Bilbo Baggins. He was a hobbit happy to stay in The Shire until adventure came knocking at his door in the form of Gandalf. Bilbo had no desire to go, stating, “We are plain, quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them.”
But what followed was the “story of a Baggins who had an adventure, and found himself doing and saying things altogether unexpected. He may have lost the neighbour’s respect, but he gained – well, you will see whether he gained anything in the end.”
I would probably have been happy staying my whole life in my hometown as I have never been the adventurous sort. But Adventure came knocking on my door too and sent me to Asia for 13 years where I have found myself doing and saying things altogether unexpected as well. I believe I've gained quite a bit in the end. I hope I haven't lost the neighbor's respect, although I strongly suspect I will have lost quite a bit of common ground and understanding and don't know that I'll ever fully get it back. After all, as Gandalf commented, "My dear Bilbo! You are not the hobbit that you once were.” And neither am I.
But like Bilbo, I hope to be content and scatter memorabilia from my adventures throughout my home for which I have a greater appreciation that I did before I left. And I'll keep in touch with my
Elf friends whom I have met along the way.
I was explaining this to the kids tonight, and Megan commented that she hasn't been There and Back Again yet. America is "there" and China is "back again."
But that is another story entirely.