It’s been almost a month since we arrived back at home. The first few days were all about reconnecting with our surroundings, and reconnecting with friends. As homecomings go, we couldn’t have asked for more. We were surprised by friends at the airport. Our house was clean and decked out with “welcome home” signs, flowers, food, and care packages. Per’s car, which had decided to stop working (I think it missed him) had even been towed to the repair shop, and was waiting for us all spiffed up and ready to go. Our life was completely filled with hugs. Yes, we felt very, very welcome when we arrived home.
Then, once the high of arriving home shifted into the routines of living at home, we found ourselves spending a lot of time processing the trip, and processing the transition. And by processing, I mean sitting on the front porch drinking too much coffee and moping. A lot.
We knew there would be questions about the journey, but I hadn’t really prepared myself for answering the big questions, nor had I even thought about what those questions would be.
“How was the trip?” Yes, that question was expected. The answer? “Great” doesn’t do it justice. “A dream”, though true, sounds a little hokey. So far, the best answer was suggested by our friend Denise, who said, “outrageously awesome”. In truth, I think the biggest struggle with this question is addressing the enormity of the answer in a succinct way. I hesitate to say, “the experience of a lifetime” because now that we have lived this adventure, we want more! How about, “beyond our wildest dreams”?
“What was your favorite place?” Nope…can’t really answer that one well either. Every place we visited offered us something new, something to think about, something to enjoy. We’ve talked about it as a family, and though we might rearrange the way we spent some of our time, or change the time of year we visited some places (summertime in southeast Asia and China is HOT!), we would gladly visit everyplace again. For real.
Now for the hardest question, “Aren’t you glad to be home?” I find this question to be totally unnerving. The answer is “no”. But the answer is also “yes”. Let’s go with, “yes and no”. Sometimes being home feels like being wrapped in a comfortable blanket. We have amazing friends, live in a wonderful community, and truly appreciate the gift our life here is. But we also find ourselves longing for the road. Just one more country…just a few more weeks…just a little more time together…just the four of us.
This question gets to the crux of the challenge of our transition. Our trip was an incredible snapshot in time. Not just all the cool countries, historical sites, and awesome food. It was an 8-month period of time when we had our girls all to ourselves. We had each others undivided attention. We did everything together, and though that is not always champagne and roses, it is very, very special. I discovered that I am still madly in love with my husband, and that he is my best friend. We got to know our children as people (not just as our children), and you know what? We really, really like them. How cool is that?
That leads to the last question, “how is the transition home going?” For the girls, the adjustment happened incredibly quickly. They hit the ground running, and though there are moments of missing our adventure, they are happily settled back into life at home. For me and Per? I think we need just a little more time.
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