Tuesday, April 27, 2010

There's No Place Like Home

Dorothy was right, there really is no place like it. I feel like I have clicked my heels together three times and here were are...HOME. Back where we started. So much has changed and yet so little. There are new houses being built, new restaurants, and neighborhood children have grown up in the blink of an eye. But the trees are still blindingly green, people everywhere are still kind, I am remembering my way around town, and best of all our friends are still here. We have fallen right into their loving arms and are enveloped in their care during this time of transition. Our neighborhood still overflows with a small town spontaneous friendliness...within 45 minutes of us arriving three separate families walked by and stopped to welcome us home on the front porch. Boy it feels great to be back in the 'hood!

There is a song in the musical "Wicked" called "For Good" and the chorus really sums up my feelings about the amazing adventure we completed:
"Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes the sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good"

I feel certain that because I knew life in Brussels I am for good changed by my time living abroad. I think more. I am more worldly. I am even closer to our family unit. So even though we are working frantically to put pieces back in place, things are different...for the better!

Rewind...We had a crazy trip back from Budapest to Brussels and then Brussels to USA amidst the drama of the volcano ash grounding European flights for a week. We had to make a call on our Brussels to Budapest flight Tuesday morning via early train or afternoon flight. We decided not to risk it and took the 14 hour sure bet train trip versus the 90 minute flight. As luck would have it our afternoon flight was one of the very few that flew that day as the restrictions lessened. It was financially a big bummer - yet we have been so lucky with efficient travel that we seemed due. It ended up being an absolute blast on the train. It was of course packed full, but full with jovial, glass-half-full Brits making the best of things and happy to be chugging home at long last. We traded volcano war stories and by the time we were underway Connor charmed fellow travelers into taking turns reading stories to her one lap and one person after another. Until she was just exhausted and fell asleep on Kirk...We were weary travelers to say the least after the train trip. Joe and John let us crash with them. They fed us and we were (and still are) forever grateful. If I had to face another salami sandwich dinner and a hotel...let's just say it was time for some home cookin' and the fellowship of friends. They let us completely take over their hallway to repack and organize our 8 suitcases and 3 carry on bags. Good gracious! Joe was the host with the most! His lasagne made my stomach smile from end to end!Brussels to Atlanta went without a hitch. I had to snap a photo of us though at the airport. We got plenty a strange looks at the baggage carousel as we kept hauling bag after bag after bag.Staying this first week with friends has been an amazing aspect in our reentry. They fill in every gap and need. Their daughter was precious and made us the following welcome home sign. Yay, Yay is absolutely right!Connor is in playmate heaven. The children were all 3 in the pack n play last night reading away. Have you ever?!?The only hiccup we have had is Connor and skinned knees. She has managed to scrape them up pretty good with all the play. At least there are Barbie band-aids to make everything feel better!Finally, today was my little one's first day of school! With a borrowed backpack and hand me down Crocs she hip hopped her way back to full time care. Here she is all ready to go!Truth be told I was a little lonely without my two year old buddy with me. But she did great. Not a tear and when I picked her up she looked up at me and proclaimed, "I had a fun day at school Mommy!" Yep, there really is no place like home.


Jennifer said...

Glad you're home safe and sound, Reid! I like part of Wicked that you quoted. We are indeed changed for the better by our European adventures. We've been back 4 months now and some days, we revel in 100% English customer service, options, sun, family and old friends and other days, we'd give our right arms for a Belgian pastry/dinner, a quaint non-chain restaurant, a castle or cathedral and of course the tight expat community. I hope you settle back in well and I am glad to have met you at the AWCB :)

Jennifer Martin

Jenna said...

I love your post. So happy you made it home safely! I "sang along" to your Wicked quote. But I think it is so true! I love Europe so very much, but this post makes me the tiniest bit excited to come back home!

Karen said...

So glad that all the transitions are going smoothly! Can't wait to see you in the US! Give big hugs to Connor for us!

julie said...

Reid - Congratulations on living this exciting chapter in your life to the fullest.