Monday was supposed to be my first "normal" day back in the office. We moved out of the hotel we called home for two months and into our house on Sunday morning. By late Sunday night, snow began falling and by Monday morning, it was apparent - my first commute from our new home would delayed. Charlotte has virtually no snow removal equipment and the local drivers have limited skill in a winter environment. By Monday afternoon, ice was falling rather than snow so Tuesday was another day at home. It was a nice respite which we used to continue the house settling job that will stretch into February.
Finally - today was my first commute to work from home in America since December, 1999. Despite the long time gap, the commute felt "strangely" normal. Although I enjoyed the convenience of the train commute in Japan and the camaraderie of my Shanghai commute with Philip driving the car while talking about anything and everything - not being behind the wheel never felt like a "normal" way to get to work for me. Even after five and a half years in Japan, boarding the 7:24 from our local station never seemed normal. In our five plus years in Shanghai, having Philip as a driver always had a bit an "over the top quality" that I never fully adjusted to.
So now I am back behind the wheel but with the full knowledge that "new normal" won't be normal for long. Next week, I will be happily back in Shanghai with Philip driving me and the following week I will be in Tokyo using a combination of subway, trains, cabs and shoe leather to get around.
Maybe getting back to "normal" will have to wait........