Wednesday, July 15, 2015

There's no place like home

Excitement was a feeling I never fully understood until I flew home after nearly 2 years abroad. I landed in Los Angeles nervous, happy, and with a huge sense of initial unfamiliarity. I was overwhelmed by holy American food, a phone that I could answer, and surrounded by people who sounded like me, but suddenly had accents. And in most ways, it was as if flying home felt more foreign than flying away. 

I then flew to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where I spent the weekend meeting my sister's fiance for the first time ever (he passed with a serious A++), catching up with my very best friend, and celebrating Father's Day, with my dad, in person, in real life. I also gorged on chicken wings, cheese curds, and almost cried as they poured the most beautiful amber ale I've ever seen into that perfectly frosted glass for a mere $4. And that's when I decided that summer's in the midwest will likely become a yearly tradition. Seriously, it's happening. 

And then I headed to Wisconsin, where life began to feel real again. Where I was flooded with emotion over the life I left behind. Where everything felt new, yet familiar. And where nothing and everything had changed simultaneously. 

But as I settled into life back home, I couldn't believe how truly easy it was. How normal it felt. How worried I was for nothing. I only got honked and yelled at a mere 2-3 times in the process of learning to drive on the right again, which was a small, but true victory. I only cried once upon entering target, where any and all purchases in the history of purchases could be made in one single store. And I only embarrassed myself a handful (or two) of times with shrieks of excitement as my fat girl heart was made complete with chicken philly poboys, and nachos, and $3 martinis, and I could go on and on and on... 

I also started a 9-week nanny job where most of our days are spent at the park, at the zoo, playing baseball, or swimming. I've had the simple luxury of spending many days with my family, doing little things like eating dinner together, going on walks, and watching movies. And the rest of my summer has been a series of baseball games, concerts, boats, camping, rooftop bars, and time with my very best friends. 

And while I desperately miss my crazy life abroad, I've also learned that simple is beautiful. Little things matter. And Wisconsin is home.