The thing about having moved too many times to count is you’re perpetually homesick for somewhere. This ache for a place you once called home and then the joy of revisiting it is a constant see saw of emotions and memories.
We returned to Belgium on Sunday, and we’re so glad to be back. We missed our dog, our bed, our life here. But, it comes at a cost because we will now go back to missing our loved ones ‘back home.’
I cherished my time with my kids, and I’m glad Joe and I got to travel around so much of the U.S. this summer. I have not been on American soil for that long of a time since I moved overseas. In 5 weeks we got to visit our nation’s capital, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri and Indiana. Here’s a quick rundown of our highlights.
Staying in Phoenix in the summer at homes without pools is tough. I missed my pool more than ever during this visit. I’m an outdoor kind of girl who loves to sip her coffee with the birds and, well, the bees (or flies). It’s hard to do that when you’re melting (I used to sit in my pool and sip coffee), but it’s all good I did get a little pool time in during our vacay. Besides this trip was truly about soaking up family time, and I got to spend time in each of my children’s homes.
I also got to sip coffee outside in northern Arizona over the July 4 holiday weekend (at a lovely house we rented in Oak Creek Canyon) and another weekend in Flagstaff. I loved that I got to whoop up the 4th with this crew!
Little monster is just too too cute. I miss him dearly.
We drove from Flagstaff to Santa Fe, New Mexico where I got to catch up with an old friend. We stayed at a lovely hotel in the art center area. It was beautiful, and we so wish we could have stayed an extra night.
I’m really annoyed by photo editing right now, so it’s messing up my writerly vibe as well. But, oh well, you see that plate full of green goo — OMG I crave that now. I’ve discovered hatch chiles and christmas sauce. I may have to go back just to eat that meal again!
It was so good to visit Kyle and Kendra in Castle Rock. The only thing missing during our July 4 feast was these two. Plus, you can’t go wrong visiting the big C during summer. It’s always gorgeous there.
From Colorado we headed to Indiana to visit Joe’s sister. We spent a night in Kansas next to a truck stop. Lol there’s really not much I can say about Kansas (although we didn’t explore much). The highlight for me was taking a side trip to the Oz museum and Oz winery. Those snazzy slippers that start this blog were bought there — love them!
Before reaching Indiana we spent a night in Missouri near Columbia. We regret not taking an extra day to explore the Ozarks (especially since we love the show set there), but perhaps another time. Again we didn’t do much sight seeing, but we did spend a lot of time having fun with Joe’s sister, who lives in a Disneyesque town called Carmel. LOL I swear they even pipe in the wildlife because while we were sitting at the fire pit we were entertained by racoons, foxes and a possum. During the day blue jays and cardinals stopped by to peek at us peeking at them. No need to do much exploring when it’s all right there.
I loved the artwork all over the town center, and a cool restaurant had my favorite bathroom ever. Who knew Indiana was so progressive?!
We spent a day sitting waterside sipping bevies, which was wonderful. It made me miss living by a lake (but that was several lifetimes ago!).
And then our road trip was over. We flew back to Phoenix for a few days, packed up and returned to Brussels. Luckily we totally missed the heat wave. I cannot imagine attempting sleep in my third-floor, non air-conditioned apartment in 106 degree temps.
I wish I would have taken the time to write the many reflections I’ve had during this trip, so that I could share the good ones with you, but I didn’t and now that I’m typing I can’t think of any of them.
I am torn between wanting to move back to the states to be closer to my kids (and their kids) and staying here where I’m in a bipolar relationship of peace and wonder and frustration and WTF (you never get used to eets a problame, which basically means “bitch you’re gonna wait another week, two, three or maybe four before this shit gets fixed”).
But, I do so love my home here and my job and the life, so it’ll be a while before I go back (unless my employer has other plans for me).
I am also heartbroken and enraged that a few days ago I messaged my children that I loved them and to please, please be safe and vigilant. All of the places where mass shootings take place could include any of us. We love festivals, shopping, drinking and getting educated. The story of the young mother dying in Walmart while shielding her infant crushed me. The only saving grace is that wouldn’t be my daughter since she probably owns stock in Amazon by now, but why oh why are we so violent? America I love you, and all my people there. I truly believe there are more good of us than bad, so please, please, please let’s get our shit together and quit letting shit talkers stir it up (and noooo I’m not blaming politicians for the murders, but our leaders aren’t helping make change for the better, and we’re getting caught in the web with our own arguments and circular reasoning. Bottom line: conservatives and liberals want the same for their children: safety, growth, freedom and opportunities). We know how to get along and play nice in the sandbox, so let’s get to it. And, yes, that includes me.
Okay, this isn’t a blog about my country’s issues, so let me get back to the whole point of this post. It was great to go home for a bit, and it’s just as great to come home! I loved time with my people, but most of all my absolute favorite thing was rocking and singing my grandson to sleep. OMG it is amazing how much a baby can fill your soul with love and hope. (um, maybe we need to all rock babies before problem solving?)
Three years ago, about this time, my husband and I christened his new pickup by bringing it up to Williams Mountain, parking it somewhere in the middle of the woods, and throwing an air mattress in the back. After a bottle of wine (or two) by the fire we crawled in and fell asleep counting asteroids thanks to the annual Perseid Meteor shower. There is nothing like waking up in the middle of the night to have the universe as your ceiling. Plus, you can’t help but get giddy wishing upon a shitload of falling stars.
A few nights ago we got to do this again, and it was amazing (well except for the massive bug that buzzed us a few times and my 3 a.m. irrational fear of getting devoured by a bear or mountain lion —- Joe’s snoring could possibly pass as a mating call).
Sorry I didn’t think to grab my camera and take pics at night
As much as we travel I know you’d think we’d honeymoon somewhere exotic like Fiji or the Maldives, but because of lack of time off (for Joe) and money (it happens) we opted for a few nights up north, which is really the only right way for us to commemorate our 10 years of putting up with one another, and first month of marriage. This is who we are —- but no worries we have plenty of other travel adventures ahead of us, including those exotic islands we have not yet snored on.
We began our little vacation Wednesday night inhaling Moscow Mules in the pool while strategising our Olympic synchronised cannon ball routine —- seriously we could bring home gold. Next day after running errands (including Joe signing the papers that sold his house —- whoop whoop! mine is next) we booked a room at St. Michaels, an early 1900s hotel on Whiskey Row in Prescott. We strolled, we ate, we drank, we mingled with folk, and we watched Americans kick ass in the Olympics (we can swim, volley and summersault the hell out of ourselves, can’t we).
In the morning we walked alongside Granite creek. It’s a lovely little walk we didn’t even know existed —- despite the many times we’ve been to Prescott. You can enter it off of Gurley street, two blocks down from St. Michaels hotel.
Then we headed up to Williams for our no-tent camping trip and hike for one night. Our second night there we spent in a Williams hotel (because Mama demanded more tub and real toilet time on her honeymoon).
Today, after putzing around and enjoying more of Williams, we drove up to Flagstaff and for the first time ever rode the ski lift to the top of Snowbowl. My pictures cannot do the experience justice.
While I wrote most of this my man napped in the shade of a tree; butterflies dared each other to touch him (I’d post the pic I took, but only the butterflies and I should witness his extraverted belly busting out for a photo bomb). All I heard was the wind through the forest and birds and insects busying themselves with their morning chores. Later on I rested under the same tree and watched clouds embrace each other to bless us with a small rain shower. The best parts of our honeymoon were all gifts from nature, and it just doesn’t get any better than that.
We’re back in Phoenix now, but in three days I leave again for the other desert I live in. I will think of all of this when I sip my coffee in my heavily air conditioned Al Ain apartment, and I will once again thank the powers that be for the many miracles in my life. Blessed Be, Allah Akbar, and Amen!