It’s hard to believe that I’m getting on a plane tomorrow. In some ways this has all come around incredibly fast; from the decision making to the follow through, my life has change dramatically in a little less than six months. And yet, because of the multiple steps I’ve taken (moving out of my apartment, moving away from Virginia, moving back home and now finally leaving) it feels as if this day would never actually come. But here I am, crossing my fingers that my suitcase doesn’t weigh so much they’ll kick it off the plane and that I haven’t forgotten anything. (I’m not betting on either of those!)
On the eve of it all I wanted to give a quick re-cap of all the fun I’ve had at home the past few weeks. Despite my complaining I haven’t actually spent all my time studying, packing, and getting ready (just most of it!) I have had a plethora of opportunities to spend time with my family: my sweet new niece, my rambunctious nephews, my three remaining grandparents, brothers, sister, cousins, aunts and uncles and my ever-patient and accommodating parents. (How grateful I am that they are willing and able to welcome their wayward, 30+ year-old daughter back into their basement, no questions asked.)
The highlight was a trip to Disneyland, truly the happiest place on earth. It was fun to visit with kids and see it through their eyes (though it was also a bit of a challenge, fighting against nap times and temper tantrums!) We finished our trip with a stop in St George in southern Utah where I got to hike and soak up some red rock vibes. The desert feeds my soul in a way that nothing else seems to be able to. It is instantly nurturing and centering. My breath slows and deepens, my mind clears and even the most horrific of problems seems small and manageable under the vast blue of the desert sky.
My mom and I spent many an hour wandering farmer’s markets, harvesting from the backyard garden and creating various dishes from plum jams and barbecue sauces to peach cobbler and tomato, basil salads. Check out these fun little cucumbers that look like bitty watermelons! (They were delicious mixed with heirloom tomatoes, basil, lemon spinach, goat cheese and balsamic vinegar.)
Missing my fix of all things bookish I dragged my mother to a reading/signing at the local independent book store, The King's English. Phil and Erin Stead came to introduce his newest book (a darling story about a little bird in search of a friend) and read some of their past releases including my very favorite, their Caldecott winning collaboration, A Sick Day for Amos McGee. They were delightful to listen to and visit with. And it always makes me happy to introduce a favorite book to someone and have them love it as much as I do! My mom was smitten with McGee and bought signed copies as Christmas gifts for everyone she knows!
My local musical guru (aka my sister) and I took in an amazing performance by Mr. Ben Folds, my last concert for the next six months. He’d just come from a massive tour with the Bare Naked Ladies and others followed by a seclusion spent writing a musical score. He told us he’d wanted to book a forgiving venue where he could just play and not have to think too hard about anything, to give himself a break. It was one of the best shows I’ve seen. He took requests from the audience and from twitter, made up words to songs he hadn’t sung in years, lead us in a couple of group sing-alongs and just had a blast doing it all. And we had a blast watching/listening/participating.
Then there were visits to the fair, trips to the farm, countless thick and frosty shakes and meals with friends, afternoons spent in the cool of the movie theater watching this (meh) and this (hilarious) and this (fun but not nearly as fun as the first), and hours enjoying the turning leaves in the nearby mountains.
It’s been a fun and eventful couple of months but I’m ready to move on to the next phase of it all. I’m off to the airport bright and early for a 26+ hour journey to the other side of the world. Adventure, chaos, culture shock, a steep learning curve and who knows what kinds of experiences await. And I say bring it! See ya'll in Thailand!