The last time I wrote on the blog was when we were packing up and shipping out of Manila. Our world has turned upside down since then. I’m now sitting at the counter of my little remodeled 1940’s rental home in Arlington, VA writing my first blog since we’ve moved back to the States after living overseas for three years.
I took a blog holiday. It was unintentional. I didn’t plan on not blogging about our two months of R&R (rest and recuperation) at home. It kind of just happened. Once we got over our extreme jet lag and started really seizing every day of R&R I just couldn’t sit down and regurgitate the experiences. They felt so real and at the same time so unreal to me. Every day was full of friends and family and American-ness and for the life of me I didn’t want to ruin the euphoria that came with repatriating in the US. Writing about it felt like I would be less in-the-moment. I just wanted to smell the fresh air and see the blue skies and taste the vibrant fresh flavors of food, all while being selfish with my feelings about it all.
For three years in the Philippines we relied on the computer and Internet to connect with everyone we loved and cared about while we were away. R&R was about being with these people face to face. No computer involved. It was so fantastic.
I know family and friends read our family blog to stay familiar with what our family is doing and I apologize that I left you in the dark for the last two plus months. I took tons of photos of all our adventures and the girls have grown so much. Justin says they look even more golden in America. I have to agree. I promise to get some of these photos up on the blog with time.I have to share, in detail, one moment for me which sums up my feelings about being in America after having lived in a third world country for three years. We spent the month of July in Washington State visiting my family. Every single day was pure bliss for me (and my folks I’m sure). One day during the week Justin and I decided to drive the girls to Estershort Park in Vancouver, WA to play at the playground. The park sits in a downtown Vancouer city block. It’s surrounded by mature shade trees and a spray-ground creek kids can splash around in. We let the girls run around and play for a good long while on the amazing play ground. We then decided to walk and pick up something being sold at one of the food carts for lunch and grab a seat on the lawn to listen to what looked to be a mid-day concert starting at the little outdoor pavilion. We found an open grassy spot next to a few other groups of moms and kids and layed out our beach towels. The girls munched on hot dogs and eventually a little local pop country band started playing. Justin brought back a huge waffle cone of homemade ice cream and we all passed it around for licks. The girls got up to dance as were most of the children in the park and I couldn’t help but just start to cry. Not little easily hid tears but big weapy sobs that my husband quickly noticed and immediately assumed something was wrong like I might have gone into early labor right then and there. I could barely get the statement “America is so wonderful” out without more blubbering sobs drawing the attention of strangers so instead I just sat there crying behind my sunglasses. What I wanted to express, but couldn’t find the words in the moment to say was that; this moment in time was the most beautiful thing I had ever experienced. I sat on the greenest grass I’ve ever seen under the clearest blue sky I remember, next to my amazingly wonderful husband, watching my two gorgeous daughters run around with ice cream on their lips and ketchup on their hands. The breeze was blowing, the music was playing, we were surrounded by people of all ages with their kids, dogs, and friends. Everyone was smiling and enjoying the summer sunshine and concert. Next to me a little girl pulled out a red vine, lifted it in to the air and took a bite from the end ripping it from the rest of the licorice. I felt (as I always do now days), big with pregnancy but so blessed to be breathing in the fresh air for my unborn daughter. It was a perfect American moment for me in the Pacific Northwest. I don’t think I’ve ever been moved to tears by something so mundane as an outdoor concert in a park. Maybe it was the fact that, to me, it looked as if the rest of the people sitting around us with their picnic baskets and blankets or lawn chairs did this every week in the summer. For them this was just another day. Just a last minute grab-the-kid-and-head-to-the-concert for something to do before nap-time kind of activity. That blissfull obliviousness to greatness made me sob just a little bit more. Justin rubbed my back understanding exactly what had me in tears without me really having to say so. I explained to my concerned four year old that Mommy had happy tears. Oh so happy tears.
So yes, we are home. It’s everything I hoped it would be and more. I don’t miss our life in the Philippines as I thought I really would. Some things were easier there (I just bleached my own toilet-necessary but not awesome) but I wouldn’t want to spend another moment in Manila’s poor air quality. I’m loving cooking for my family and meeting other American moms at the local park. I love driving down the streets Justin and I used to frequent together. Only now with out two daughters in the back seat and our third bouncing along in my belly. Home sweet home never made as much sense to me as it does right now.