Saturday, May 31, 2008

Coming home...

5/30 8 PM EDT

Its now 9 AM (5/31) local time in Korea. I got here this morning at 6 AM on the red-eye from Singapore. I hardly slept. I'm exhausted and just trying to stay awake at the moment. I'm sitting at Incheon Airport waiting to find out if I managed to get a standby seat on the 10 AM flight to Atlanta. If not, I'll be here — Korea, not the airport I hope — until 6 PM tonight. I'm hoping like crazy that I'm not here all day, it will make an already long trip that much longer. I should know in 20 minutes whether or not luck is working in my favor today. If not, I can't complain. I accepted the 12 hour layover here originally because it was the least expensive business class fare I could get ($6000 round trip), fitting within my budget for this engagement. Now I'm thinking about what a fool I was. Ooops. Lesson learned. I should have spent the night in Singapore instead.

(A cute, but strange, Japanese girl just sat next to me to practice her English. We exchange pleasantries and she asks me where I am from, so I tell her the US. Then she tells me she is some kind of student, something unintelligible, followed by "peace student". I flashed her a peace sign and asked her if that's what she means and she says yes. She then shows me something god oriented and starts explaining... I shooed her away. She didn't get the concept of atheism, but I didn't try that hard to explain. Perhaps now that I am alone again the deaf gentleman will come back and pester me for money for the third time...)

In the airport there is paid WiFi. But you have to have a Windows machine since the online purchasing requires an ActiveX control that won't run without Internet Explorer. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to run with Internet Explorer all that well either! I did find an open AP and I have been using it off and on to check email and call Steph to let her know of my progress. Obviously, its how I managed to write this, as well. For a world class airport, one ranked best in the world along with Singapore's Changi, this is pretty pathetic. Come to think of it, I had the same issue last night at Changi, but I wasn't sitting there for innumerable hours, bored to tears. *sigh*

Off to check and see if I got on the flight...

5/30 9 PM EDT

W00t! I got on the flight. Its Korean Air, which has less comfy business class seats the the Delta flight I took to Shanghai, but it gets me home at 10 AM today (i.e. I leave here at 10 AM 5/31 local time, arrive in ATL at around 10 AM 5/31 local time) instead of 7 PM on Saturday. 14 hours of flying, no puking. At least one can hope. ;-)

5/31 6:21 AM

En route to Atlanta right now, we're just coming off of the Pacific ocean near the British Columbia/Washington border. Almost home.

Earlier in the flight I watched the season finale of Desperate Housewives, an episode of Everest: Beyond The Limit, ate a bowl of bibimbap and passed out (chemically enhanced by Ambien, but no alcohol and no puking). 5 hours of relaxing sleep later, we just had "breakfast", some kind of beef soup, noodles, rice and Korean pickles. They make pretty decent food on Korean Air, I'd fly them again. Now I am watching The Bucket List and staring at the monitor watching the plane creep ever so slowly across North America. I'll be seeing my Maya Papaya in a few hours! I think she's been a bit of a pain in the butt to Steph lately, their drive to and from Florida was apparently less than stellar. Maybe she just needs some daddy time. I certainly need some of that myself.

The past few weeks have been really hard. Everyone told me that I would stop traveling after Maya arrived. I didn't, and I don't wish I had. But when it rains, it pours, and the travel has been crazy lately. Since Maya's birth I have done trips to NJ, TX, central GA, and Singapore. In the next few weeks I will be in Boston, NYC, Baltimore and Chicago. And that's just before the end of June! So I clearly have not stopped traveling, but the trips are different now. I'm traveling too much, and feeling guilty that I am missing Maya as she "grows up". I know that she has a long way to grow, but she changes every time I see her. When I call or come home after I a trip I find out that she is making new noises, smiling more, etc. Will I miss her first time crawling? First word? On the other hand, I work from home when I am not on the road. So I get to spend more time with Maya during those weeks than most of the dads I know who don't travel, but spend their lives at work.

I don't want to miss these one time events in Maya's life, but this is my job. I love the job, and the opportunities it provides and my wife and daughter. Can one be put above the other? My job allows us the very nice and comfortable life that we live, both in material things like houses, and experiences like traveling around the world (vacation, not work), putting money away for Maya to attend the school of her choice someday and (hopefully) early retirement for Steph and I. We have no needs that go unfulfilled and want for nothing. (Well, I'd love a convertible, but I hardly drive any miles these days, so its a total waste of money.)

Are the tradeoffs worthwhile? Will I some day look back and wish I had made a different choice? I just don't know. I do know I am greatly looking forward to giving her a big kiss when I see her soon. I'm not quite looking forward to cleaning a poopy diaper, but I have to take the good with the bad and relieve Steph of her duties (doodies?) with Maya.

1:10 PM 5/31

I am finally in the house with Steph, Maya and the dogs. It is good to be home!

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