there and back again

After a grumpy week of confused late night adjustments, I believe we have all recovered from our jet lagging travels. My wits are just now starting to return. I wanted to write while I was back in the states, but quite frankly, there was just too much to catch up with. The Bushbaby and I began our journey in mid-March with a 3 week visit with my sister and her family. I can’t imagine a softer landing. The french doors from the guest room opened to a generous Colorado sky and the snowy mountains beyond. America the beautiful, dressed in her modest and rugged heartland finery.

The air was cool and clean, a nearly consistent and perfect forecast in the mid-60s, low 70s. Daily walks through her foot-hilly neighborhood flushed our cheeks pink and challenged my low-lander lungs and muscles. I snuggled my little african bundle tightly into the stroller and marveled (AGAIN) over the things I’ve taken for granted in my life. Trash bins and public parks with cute little baby swings, countless places to just WALK. My God, how simple and lovely this life can be.

After 3 weeks of spicy baby salad greens, sweet cousin kisses & squeezes, rich creamy lattes and plenty of retail therapy, we said our teary goodbyes and flew into Michigan to reunite with Snakes and visit with the rest of my family in the Grand Rapids area. Since it was the Bushbaby’s inaugural visit, my dad took a few days off work to spend some time getting to know his newest granddaughter. He also arranged a SERIOUS pinball fix for us one evening at the home of one of his pinball buddies. Honestly, this guy had no fewer than 20 different machines, all in mint condition. I strapped Colette on with a forward facing Bjorn and played, uninterrupted, for about an hour. It is our greatest regret that we never bought a machine before coming to Luanda. It would have been money very well spent.

Many visits with family, friends in Detroit, a couple of old favorite food haunts, and the week flew by. We spent the final week in Bethlehem, PA with Snakes’ family. My MIL had arranged a big brunchy party for everyone to come and meet the Bushbabe that weekend we arrived. Though exhausting, it was a great way to pack A LOT of visiting into just a few hours. That week we managed to squeeze in a date (!), more shopping and visiting and a family photo shoot. Even though we promised ourselves to have a relaxing R & R, I wonder if it’s really possible. There is always something more to do, see and EAT.

As the week came to a close and our flight time loomed large, I could feel my anxiety building. Life is SO easy in the states. The ideas of “seeing the world” and “experiencing other cultures” (and learning so so so much about ourselves in the process) remain enticing. But when the lilac bushes are bursting at their seams, begging me to pick an armload and press my whole face into them and we’re stuck inside rearranging, weighing our luggage, organizing our stash of broccoli, asparagus, cheeses and miso paste, the reality of this life hits me. It’s incredibly hard work. Living so far from family, friends and the ease of familiarity.

I can’t think too much about what I’m missing now that we’re back, it’s a dangerously slippery slope. I need to find that little space where I am simply grateful for each and every thing. I need to take that “little space” and work on making it much bigger. I need to make sure I force myself out of the house every day. I need to find time for my studio. One year over. One year left. It’s getting better all the time.

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2 thoughts on “there and back again

  1. I’d imagine you guys are having some of the same conversations we are. Seeing the world and experiencing other cultures — cool ideas in theory. But are we really doing this? There’s so much work to do that there’s barely time. But I’m glad that you’re refreshed after a well deserved break in the U.S.

    P.S. Colette’s still a cutie!

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