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It has been two months since I last wrote. That is an eternity on the internet. I watched the days slip by, some ideas came and went, but I never wrote them down.
There are two reasons for my silence. First, I’m finding it a lot harder to write when I am home. It is a realization that has become part of the definition of “home” for me.
Home n. (hōm): A place where things are so normal, they don’t seem interesting enough to write about on your blog.
Things are also much more personal at home. When I was writing in Switzerland, it was about all the things that were going on around me, or things that were happening to me. And though they were part of my life at the time, that chapter of my life feels like a separate book. Like I put my “real life” on hold for a while to have that experience. And the experience itself was a constant flow of things to write about.
Here, when things happen, they don’t just feel like part of a fun adventure. They are part of my life. And it is a lot scarier to write about real life choices and struggles and joys. But I’m working on it.
The second thing that makes it harder to write now is that I am so much busier. Being home also means that I have more responsibilities, more things to do, and a lot more stuff. I am engaged in things I enjoy, but sometimes I feel like I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off. The other day I found myself missing not having a car. I laughed because the thing I missed most often in Switzerland was my car. But now I feel tied to it. There is hardly anything I can do without it.
I had intended to slowly reintegrate myself, being careful not to get involved in too much too quickly. Apparently I’m not very good at that. Now I manage our household with three kids, sit on a volunteer committee, have a part time job, and I’m starting my own business. (More on that soon, I promise!)
So, perhaps this space is a reminder for me to slow down. To really experience things and to find the courage to share them.
There is a new game I like to play called, “What was I doing at this time last year?” It’s a fun way to relive our year abroad and bring back fun memories. And it so happens that this week last year was extremely memorable. It was fall break, and we went on one of the best family vacations we have ever had.
First of all, I have decided that having longer breaks in the middle of the school year is really nice. This year, my kids have several days off of school in September and October, but they are all spread out. Having just one extra day isn’t enough to do very much. A three day weekend, while nice in some ways, is not really that different from a regular weekend. And if you try to squeeze in something big, you just end up exhausted and stressed. So this fall, we are taking things slow. I’ve had some great, laid back days with my kids. Sitting outside, reading, going to parks. It’s really nice.
But not last year. Last year at this time, we were in the first part of a three-week-long break. And, let me tell you, three weeks is a really long time. We took two family vacations – one to Germany and one to the Swiss Alps – and we still had a week in between to just relax, and a day at the end to recuperate before going back to school refreshed and rejuvenated. It was wonderful. Just different.
Anyway, in the first week, we headed to Southern Germany for a week of incredible experiences, hilarious mishaps (at least they’re hilarious in hind sight), and some of our most popular blog posts ever. I think all family vacations are similar in that, while you see things and go places that you planned in advance, it is often the experiences that were unplanned that create the strongest memories. We went to Oktoberfest, visited Legoland Deutschland, and saw the castles in Hohenschwangau. It was, at times, idillic. However, we also remember our ridiculous travel day from Münich to Legoland, and how Henry got plowed over by a careless teenager and had a scraped face for the rest of the trip. But to my dismay, the post that everyone talks about from our entire year in Europe, is the one about Henry’s diaper disaster on the Alpsee in the shadow of the Neuschwanstein Castle. I think every parent on the planet can relate to that experience in some form or another. And it happened one year ago, almost to the day.
A stroll down memory lane is an enjoyable, if somewhat treacherous thing.