Thursday, November 10, 2011

Home – Finally - - Day Four


Home – Finally - - Day Four

November 4, 2011
30 Months – Two and a half years!   It is a long time to be away from your house - - your home.  What will it be like?  Will the house be OK?  Will the car start – after you get a new battery?  Will there be mold, smells, water damage, etc.?  Will it be the same as you left it?  Will you remember it?  All of those questions, and many others were running through our minds Wednesday morning as we walked with our backpacks (which had all of our belongings with us for the past seven weeks of travel) to the front door. 
We cautiously walked in.   We were amazed.  Everything was OK - - no everything was GREAT!  The house (our home) was in good shape.  Lynn started taking the sheets off the furniture, and finding the sheets, quilts, and the electric blanket for our “king-size” bed.  I worked on getting the car tires pumped (we had a friend drop off a compressor), and purchasing a new battery.  I put the battery in the car – looked to the heavens for some help – and turned the key.  It started immediately!!  The engine just purred – no blue smoke – nothing.  I slowly backed it our of the garage, and took it on a short test drive.  By the time I got back,  Lynn had our bed made.  We hugged each other.  Now all we needed to do was get water back in the house, and the heat working.  Mid-morning, Roger (the 75-year old master plumber we use) showed up, and started working to get us water.  Lynn and I worked on figuring out why the heat would not work, and got the gas fire place started to provide some heat.  (I had forgotten we had the fireplace with the flame that started with a simple “twist of a knob”).  We got the heat working about the time Roger finished getting the water running.  We also called the cable company asking for them to turn on the internet for us.  We had not seen TV for two years, and did not think we needed it now. But we wanted our “life line” - the internet.  By late evening, we had internet, heat, water, and a car.  Life was good – no it was GREAT. 
Day two dawned beautiful, and we had been so tired from our travel day, and the first day of being home, that we we both slept ten hours without any “jet lag” problems.  Day two was when, I really started to have time to wander around our home again – and not be working.  That is when things started sinking in for me.  I had a series of stunning surprises.  The first was when I opened my closet.  It was filled – very filled – with clothes, and shoes.  There was a five foot rack with shirts, pants, and series of shelves with some shoes.  I had forgotten I had those.  The three foot wide wardrobe I shared with Lynn in Bulgaria had been fine.  (I had more than enough in Plovdiv.)  But it got worse.  In the master bathroom - - (yes we have two full baths – with heat – on the second floor), I have one large shelf with just my underwear.  On the shelf under that there are two more shelves with all my biking and exercise clothes.  But then Lynn mentioned that I had a drawer full of tee-shirts in the dresser.  I had a dresser! - I had forgotten.  It has five drawers filled with sweat shirts, warm clothes, sweaters,  - - and one drawer is filled with just Tee-shirts! 
Remembering again and stunning surprises have been the predominant theme of the first days home.  Lynn and I will open something, and scream “look at this”.  Our small condo has 2,200 square feet.  Our apartment (home) in Plovdiv Bulgaria had less than 500 square feet.  We loved it there, and made it comfortable.  We simply accepted what we had, and dealt with each challenge as they came.  Our “selective memory” never focused on what we left.  Rather, we lived in the present, and made the most of what we had.  But the past four days have been a little like Christmas morning - - over and over again. 
The picture at the beginning of this blog was sunset from our back yard at the end of day one.  We had forgotten how beautiful they were, and that we can see them every night.  We did remember our big comfortable bed, but it is better than we remembered.  Tonight, we walked 30 minutes into the center of Hudson.  We could have driven, but walking (just like in the Peace Corps) seemed more normal.  We walked through the woods down to the river, and walked along the river to the center.  We wanted a “Dairy Queen” ice cream.  (For those of you who don't know, Lynn and I first met at a Dairy Queen where she was the assistant manager.)  After getting a cone, we walked the one block down to the river.  Hudson is a small town with about 12,000 people located on the St. Croix River, which is a 225 mile National Scenic River (like a national park).  All along the river is just a long park.   It was sunset, and the geese were flying in, and landing along the walkways.  As we walked along, we were finding new things which were not there when we left.  The town library had been moved down near the river next to the Phipps performing arts center.  Phipps was starting “My Fair Lady”  Friday night.  We will get tickets for next weekend.  My favorite bike shop was still there, and all of the small restaurants were packed – just like most Friday nights.  The local craft store was having an open house and it was filled with people.  We went in.  I had some free wine.  We checked out some unique Christmas ornament, and met two people Lynn knew from teaching.  Hudson is a wonderful little town, and it was good to see it again. 
After we walked home, and were having dinner, I was struck by a strange thought (I expect I will continue having these for the next few weeks).  Lynn and I had really left a lot when when we joined the Peace Corps.  We had a wonderful home in a nice town.  After 40 years of marriage, and a successful career, we had amassed a lot.   The sacrifice we made would look like it was extremely significant to other people.  And - - as I looked around after “re-finding” so many things during the past three days, it was significant.  Yet – Lynn and I never thought of it in that way.  In fact we never thought of our time in Bulgaria as a sacrifice.  For us it was a wonderful adventure – a fantastic experience, and a period of amazing growth.  And - - we helped others - - and may have made a “difference”.   What more can you ask for?  We did not need all the “creature comforts” that are here in our home.  But - - after two and a half years – it is nice to be back!

Thanks for reading
Mike
outside the front door with our "travel backpacks"

14 comments:

Valerie said...

Welcome back! It was crazy to see how much stuff I had left in Texas and how I had survived just fine without. Enjoy being back!! (PS. I went to Dairy Queen too!)

Anonymous said...

Hey, I didn't see the grey shirt in any of the photos!
Come to think of it, I didn't see it when we Skyped either.......what's up?

Welcome home, Livi

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