Sunday, June 22, 2014

on coming home

view of the Akershus Fortress and the Oslo fjord
I've been home for five days now, after a three-week journey through northern Europe. I wrote a brief reflection on the trip as I sat in JFK before the final leg of the trip home, before the vacation had worn off and the jet lag had set in. I'd like to share it, and some more pictures, here.

rainy day in Malmö, Sweden
"Back on US soil now, will be all the way home in a matter of hours, and I have mixed feelings. Familiarity is a huge relief after being in a new place every six days or less. I'm looking forward to seeing my home city, my Rainier, and my cats again. Seeing friends I've missed. Walking my familiar streets. Reading paper books again. Getting back to my writing routine.
along the canal in Copenhagen
"However. Cobblestone streets, castles, conversations I can't understand like music to my ears, learning new words and new ways to communicate, drinking in the history contained in ruins older than my country. That never gets old. And I will miss being around it all. I've gained: new walking blisters and muscles, a pair of tartan tights, a Nepalese bag from Delft, an appreciation for football, and a smattering of words in Norwegian, Dutch, and French, and much more. It's like a last bit of heaven to sit at my gate in the middle of a bunch of Italians leaving on the next flight from the gate, to Pisa. After that, the flight to Seattle will seem oh so tame." 
hairy coo in the Scottish highlands
Edinburgh castle
Finding "normal" again is a struggle after a trip like this. We don't like to call it the trip of a lifetime, because we plan to go back to Europe again, and again. Or who knows where else in the world we'll go. But finding our rhythm in the States, in a home that's still relatively new to us, while having trouble sleeping, is not always pleasant. 

Jardin du Mont des Arts in Brussels, Belgium
I can't help an urge to start planning the next trip. And the next. We want to go to Switzerland, followed by a trip to France. But I want to focus on home. On being good citizens of our neighborhood and city. Settling in behind my desk and writing some good, long chunks of prose.

I'm very thankful to our friends and family—our hosts for most of our time in Europe—for the chance to meet new places and experience new people. Most of all, I'm grateful for the opportunity to spend time with these friends and family who live so far away from us. What an important reminder. No matter where in the world we are, it's the people we're with who are the best part of the journey.

Ghent, Belgium

No comments:

Post a Comment