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Feels like home

July 20, 2013

I am finally getting around to posting trip re-caps! So…where did we leave off? My last post from our time away was our very first weekend when we were in Madison.

I actually wrote this next post during our flight from Minneapolis to Seattle on June 26th…and it makes me very glad that I continued writing while I was away even though I wasn’t posting because it is really fun for me to look back on.

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We are now en route from Minneapolis to Seattle, and according to the flight map which shows us our progress, we are currently flying somewhere over the intersection of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota as I start writing.

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I seem to be making a habit of writing my posts on flights at the moment…probably because the rest of the time on this trip, I have been trying to spend every moment with my family rather than sitting in front of a computer screen. However, it feels good to have a bit of time now to think about what we have been doing and all the fun we have had. I can’t believe we arrived in the US nearly two weeks ago already. I have already filled you in on our big family get-together in Madison during our first weekend here, and since then, time has flown by.

We had a week in Hayward, which is where I grew up, and our first days there were hot and sunny and beautiful, but after flying in and heading straight into a busy weekend, we were very happy to have a couple of days when we could just relax and settle in. In hindsight, this may have been a mistake because they were our nicest days during our week in Hayward in terms of the weather, but we managed to make the most of it anyway.

It was hot every day, but after the first few days we had some rain, and most days came with a high likelihood of storms which was enough to keep us from heading off anywhere too far from home or getting out on the lakes very much. We were lucky enough to take my parents’ little boat out on one of the area lakes on one gorgeous evening. However, I didn’t take any pictures because I thought we would be out on the boat most nights, and that first outing turned out to be our only time out on the boat this trip!

We ate lots of good food, including lots of things picked straight from my parents’ garden.

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We had fun most days just hanging out with my mom (who has summers off because she is a teacher) and my younger brother, who just graduated from college (university) and is headed off to Poland later today (!) to teach English for a month (and also coming to visit us in England for a weekend – yippee!). We managed to have lunch with my dad most days when he had a break from work and we all hung out in the evenings. Ben and I did some running (mostly in the mornings before the weather got too hot), we went into a cool local brewpub one afternoon for a drink, spent a morning at a coffee shop, and wandered around the Musky Festival one day. We all played tennis a couple of times, and on our last night in town, we went for a delicious dinner at our favourite pizza place near where my parents live. We also had several visits from the local deer right out the windows of my parents’ house, including a visit from a sweet little fawn, who bravely wandered quite close to the house, and its mom (although this photo is not of him/her).

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Although it is always wonderful to be home, it seems to feel more and more strange being back in my little hometown with each year that goes by. When the weather is nice, it is such a fun place to be because of all of the outdoor activities and we tend to be busier and our time at home feels more like a vacation (holiday). However, sometimes it feels strange when we are just out and about in town doing things that I used to all the time, like going to the grocery store or running errands around town. Everywhere we go, we run into people we know, which is wonderful, but it feels strange that people think my accent has changed, and it feels strange to say that I am living in England. I also find that there are small differences in the way people interact in England and the US, and although I feel somewhat self-conscious about this whenever I am back in the US, this is magnified when I am back in my hometown where everyone knows me and notices the changes. My main fear is that people will think I’m being snobby, as I feel like I am out of the habit of being as friendly and outgoing, and I feel like I have picked up just a little bit of the reserved British way of interacting. However, the truth is, after nearly six years in England, I just can’t quite remember how to be completely American, and at times I feel like I am so focused on trying to figure out how to be American again that I don’t really feel like myself. I think this probably happens to everyone to some extent when they move away from a home and then come back to visit, but I have always assumed it is worse since I only tend to get back twice per year.

Okay, enough of my self-indulgent monologue….(Oh wait, this is a blog – it could probably all fall under that category!)… Anyway, it was wonderful to have a week at home with my family and to hang out at home. I’m sorry I didn’t manage to arrange plans with anyone while I was in Hayward this trip back. I had good intentions and really wanted to see you, and I just don’t know where the time went!

After our week in Hayward, the holiday continued and we got to spend a few days in the Twin Cities with my older brother and sister-in-law, and I got to catch up with a few of my wonderful friends there. We had a wonderful few days, which I will tell you all about in the next post.

I am so glad that this flight isn’t our flight home yet and that we still have one week left to visit family, hang out with my parents, and explore one of our favourite cities and another beautiful part of the country.

Seattle here we come!

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Now that I look back on this post, I really wish that I had taken more pictures during our week at home and made the most of it even more than I did. I always feel this way after I leave, and I think it is mostly just because, as much as I try not to, it is very easy to take my time at home for granted and just settle back in as if I never left. However, in another way, writing this post has helped me to realise that I did exactly what I wanted to do with my time at home. I prioritised spending every minute with my family, and I am really lucky that my family make us feel so welcome that I just settle back in. I am incredibly fortunate to be able to go back and visit as frequently as I do, but it never feels like enough, and I am already looking forward to next time!

And, last but not least, I would like to wish a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my niece today, who is growing up to be a kind, thoughtful, beautiful, smart young woman, just like her mom! I am so proud of you Yana, and I wish I could be there to celebrate with you today!!!

Photo Credit: my sister, stolen from facebook  🙂

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