October 31, 2022

Now that we have arrived home we have been dealing with the aftermath.  Yesterday was spent in a combination of winding down from travel (readjusting for the seven hour time difference) and preparing to work today.  Europe had been a crush of people (ships, buses, trains, cafes, and airports) and it was good to sit with just the two of us.  We began our prep with unpacking our luggage.  We had opted for carry-on and backpacks to ease transfers and had been washing each of the three sets of clothes we had brought in the sink at night.  Melissa put everything in the washer for a good clean.  Those two loads were washed, dried, and set out to be folded, but I never got around to that part until after waking up early this morning.  I was able to return to a normal Sunday afternoon, watching football and even the news, but fell asleep during both.  I was tired, but it was good to be home.    

I had worried that Zena may have felt we abandoned her, or even not remember us after a three week absence, but it was a far different response.  When we arrived to pick her up, we had agreed that she should come outside rather than meeting her in the house.  That was a good thing as she got excited and peed on the lawn (better than in the house).  Arriving home, she rushed inside to look through her haunts to make sure nothing had changed, but she seemed sad that Cousin Eddy was not there to greet her.  The next day Zena became very clingy, constantly coming over to lay her chin on my leg while staring at me.  I kept thinking she wanted something and would ask if she wanted to go outside.  Instead, she just wanted to know we were still there for her.  Zena turned nine months old this weekend.  Melissa had read this was her “teenage time”, and she was entering into her protective phase.  She stayed close all day and actively growled whenever she heard a “threatening” noise.  That night she jumped up on the bed and squeezed between my leg and the edge.  It was good to be home.

This morning Zena decided we need to do the Dr. Pepper to wake, but rather than 10-2-4, it was 2-4-6.  I got up the first time, Melissa the second, then I gave up and roused myself the last.  A three week absence meant Melissa had her access turned off from her work computer.  When she tried to reset the connection, it explained she needed to contact customer service, who would not be available until eight.  Having become used to eating breakfast (free!) for the last three weeks meant rather than my usual fast I made a bagel.  This may have become the new norm, to wake up earlier and to eat breakfast (we will see how long that lasts).  We were forced to abandon many of our old habits (not a bad thing) while traveling, and we had picked up new ones.  Now we can choose which to restore and what to make new.  It was good to be home.

THOUGHTS:  I enjoy travel and seeing the new sights and events that come with it but have found that I can only be away for so long before I begin to miss being at home.  I spent three months in Jordan and Egypt years ago and loved the time I was there.  However, one day I was overcome and longed for the familiar.  I went to an American branded hotel and sat in the lobby for several hours.  The sights were familiar, and the people all spoke English as they passed.  As I sat soaking up my home fix, I wondered about those who came to a foreign country and never experienced the change.  Unless we experience the differences, we will struggle to appreciate what each holds dear.  Act for all.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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