Like a pair of gypsies we soar down the skyway. Home leave is not yet offically underway until next week as my wife has an annual meeting to attend, so we're stuck here in Hawaii on duty travel for a few days until I can get re-adjusted to driving between instead of astride the white lines, stopping at red lights, going on green and remembering that it's considered rude to enter a stream of traffic by nosing one's bumper into the path of an oncoming vehicle. The aforesaid maneuvers are all considered standard in Manila. There you can even drive the wrong way on one way streets or back up into the intersection where you had meant to turn. No harm, no foul.
The problem with home leave is that after twelve years overseas, home isn't really home anymore. It's just someplace where you used to live, a house that you still own that is occupied by tenants you've never met and probably won't; parents who, through time-lapse photography, keep getting two years older every time you see them; and friends from way back when whose toddlers, you remember, have now made their parents empty nesters . It's a full month of squeezing every one you once cared about, and always will, into molds that no longer quite fit. Catching up is more fun when it's serendipitous.