My Saturday, September 1, 2012, was 37 hours long. My brain and forehead wrinkle a bit when I consider that time didn’t really exist in its “normal” format when I was in the air; at any given moment when I was flying, I couldn’t have told you what time it was. The speed of the plane, the rotation of the planet, the time zones, the direction of the plane – they all interacted in such a way where time didn’t matter.

I landed in Dallas, made my way to baggage claim, and found my family holding signs with my name on them. Seeing them was great, and being back really exciting. Again, though, with the wrinkles: it didn’t feel real. Why was I at the airport? Did I really just get back from two years in Taiwan?

Apparently I was in Taiwan, ’cause here’s Flat Mandy owning the mountains of Taipei from the world’s second tallest building.

My first night in Dallas, I lay in bed and counted to myself in Mandarin. I knew some Chinese, so I must’ve really been there, right? I could mentally scoot through Hsinchu, turning down familiar streets and lanes, passing other scooters.

Still, though. It doesn’t feel real. None of it feels real.

You know what else doesn’t seem real? Typhoons that come back for seconds. Really, Tembin?

I email friends in Taiwan. That feels real. I giggle at memories and past conversations and stalk Facebook pages. I see that my old room is for rent. The description is a little generous, but I loved it there. Save for the 35C temperature during the summer, that small room was my place of solace for a good while.

Three days ago I drove for the first time in a while. My sister sat shotgun, and I drove with the wild abandon of a sloth.

Of course, soon enough, I was back to my former excellent driving standards. Oops.

Then, two days ago, I ran an errand, driving for an hour within the city limits of Dallas. I merged onto 183 and was immediately caught in a parking lot; finally, fifteen minutes later, I slowly rolled past a pickup truck, an SUV, and two cars that had gotten in a bumper fight. Considering the truck was a mess and was facing the wrong directio, and the SUV was crumpled entirely into the front seat, I was amazed that everyone seemed fine.

Ambulances, with their sirens blaring and their lights flashing, can make me cry. It’s a weird reaction, I know. When I passed the wreck, I started getting emotional. I choked up. Then I realized there was no ambulance in sight, nor were there any emergency lights or sirens. I swallowed my emotions and wondered what my problem was.

I think now, at 8:41am, after being wide awake for four hours, I might have a clue. Looking over this rambling post, and finally thinking a little clearer than I have in the previous few days, it makes a little more sense.

What always makes sense? A gigantic dog sleeping on top of you, and a second, far smaller dog sleeping on the couch by your feet.

From my lost time on the flights, to feeling like the past two years never happened, to seeing a major wreck and not knowing how to react: I feel a bit lost. Not in a Xanax kind of way, and not even in an anxious kind of way, but I feel directionless.

Time for an analogy so I don’t get a worried call from my parents:

Bear Grylls supposedly got dropped in the middle of nowhere so he could make his way back to safety: no map, no GPS, nothing but his wits and cameramen. Well, I’m Bear Grylls. I’m not scared, and I’m pretty excited about figuring out where to go. Right now, though, I’m still in the dramatic opening scene where I look to the sky, the camera (obnoxiously) spinning around me. The viewer is saying, “What will she do?”

Take Bear Grylls, add a little reverse culture shock, and you have me. It’s going to be an interesting journey. Who knows just how blog-worthy it’s going to be… the fate of this site is, as of right now, unknown. I’ll figure that out later, though. Right now, it’s time for me to look heavenward and keep moving forward.

Now, at 2:04am, it’s time for bed. Does Bear Grylls suffer from jet lag, too?