The first thing I noticed about being back was that the TSA and security in American airports are no joke. The immigration officer really doesn’t care if you give them an American passport, they really hammer you with questions, but in a friendly, trying to disarm you kind of way. The woman I got at the counter was genuinely surprised when I told her I had been gone 8 years and very sweetly welcomed me home.
I had a ten hour overnight layover in San Francisco before my hour and a half flight home to Oregon. I found that quite a few homeless people enter the airport to sleep at night and I spoke to one homeless woman in her late 40s for well over an hour. She was very interesting and told me about her travels through the middle east as well as her days of hitch hiking through America when she was young, which is something that has fascinated me since first picking up a Jack Kerouac novel. We talked of the Trump administration and how it’s affected her and some of the homeless community in SF as far as health care is concerned. I left shortly after Obama was elected so I asked her what is the general feeling about Trump? She said, fear.
It felt weird landing in Portland. Korea felt like a really long, elaborate dream, and Portland felt like something I had once known well, forgotten and suddenly remembered years later.