The return trip has been surprisingly easy, baby scene in the airplane movie that made me cry not withstanding; Bangkok to Taipei was a short three hours, the two-hour layover passed quickly with free internet access, and Taipei back to Los Angeles is only eleven hours because of the trade winds. I have 1 1/2 hours before I arrive at LAX.

I have mixed feelings about being back. First, I am finding that I am really, really missing my kid; I think this is the longest we have ever been separated from each other. Has it been three whole weeks? I can’t wait to be reunited – and a mom and daughter team again. It’s going to be fun going through all the souvenirs I bought with her tonight.

I am also hopping about in my airplane seat, because I can’t wait to see Chad. I love knowing that he’ll be there… on time and happy to see me as well.

On the other hand, I can’t believe that it’s already been almost 24 hours since I’ve had a good long whiff of that newborn baby smell: that aphrodisiac I’ve been getting drunk off for the last week. Nabi will be so grown and different by the time I see her at the wedding! And I’ll have to compete with everybody else who wants to hold the baby. Some friend of Sue’s said laughingly, “Don’t let the baby steal the spotlight at your wedding!” I think the problem will be more that I will be so bedazzled being with Nabi again that I’ll forget to chill the champagne or to serve cake. I miss her already. Then after the wedding, when will I see her next? Sue and Joss would like to have Christmas in Bangkok this year – but even then, I despair that I will only see Nabi a couple times a year as she grows up. With Bella entering high school this year, I know how fast a childhood races by.

I also feel a small measure of dread at all that waits for me in Joshua Tree; especially renting out my house and going back to work. The renting my house bit is overwhelming because I need to redo the flooring in my house. If I am going to redo the floor, it makes sense to do it before the wedding – but then again, it also makes sense to do it after I move out of the house, which will be after the wedding. I would prefer installing a fake wood floor (called targo? pergo?) with help from my friends, but I may end up going the traditional landlord route and get cheap carpet installed. In either case, it’s putting my stomach in twists to think about moving all my furniture and packing up all my stuff. Would it be better to find a rental in Orange County starting in June? That way we could move more slowly over the course of the month and my JT house would be emptier for the wedding.

Surprisingly, I don’t feel particularly stressed about the wedding or about finding a job. The wedding has its own momentum now that the invitations are out. I do still need to find a dress, order food, and buy booze, but I did get that yummy personalized candy ordered from Australia. It took a little finagling too; Sue’s parents-in-law are picking up the candy in Melbourne and bringing it to Bangkok at the end of the month, and then Sue and Joss will bring it to the wedding. It’s a big favor – as it’s 20 pounds of candy, but it saves us $200 Aus in shipping. We got Kahlua flavor. And in two weeks time, Chad and I will drive out to San Bernardino together to get our marriage license (!!)

As far as finding a job, things are just starting to budge. I spent a lot of time floating in the pool chewing on that nut; whether I want to commit to finding work in the magazine industry even with the likelihood of a steep pay cut. As Songbae said to me, “If you’re gonna make that move, make it now. You’re going to have to take the pay cut whether you do it this year or next, and it’s not going to get any easier.” Plus, he pointed out that I just have to prove myself and work my way up. I also thought about a question my friend John asked me last year when I was beginning to ponder a career shift: he said, “Whom would you rather work with?” I’m not going to answer that one where teachers I work with can read my answer! By July, we will be a two-income household and it will perhaps be my first real opportunity to look for a job without worrying about having to cover all the bills by myself.

In any case, I have sent out a couple inquiry emails to magazine editors I know (friends of friends) and I have had one response so far. Songbae’s friend, Jimmy, who was an editor at KoreAm, has agreed to meet me for lunch. When we meet, I hope to get a better idea of what kind of a job I am even looking for. He also passed along a link to a website,, that specifically posts magazine jobs.

And only five more weeks of this old job left.