We have made it all the way to Crested Butte, CO! And we are, without question, HOME, don’t let the title of this post fool you on that score. Crested Butte is just as beautiful as we remembered, our friends even more precious than before, our senses alive with the sights and smells and sounds (or lack thereof) that yell Home! It’s nice.
That said, while moving first to Ecuador then to four other South American countries and taking on scary Bolivian Immigration all within the framework of one year was/is impressive; I’m almost of the opinion at this point that what we’ve done in the last two weeks may be ever more so. The fact that we can all speak in our native tongue when trying to get stuff done does make things easier and faster, it surprisingly does not make them completely stress or mistake-free. Our day car shopping was the first testament to that, and we’ve had many others since. We are settling in, mas o menos, yet finding it nearly as foreign to be here, as a new us in our old setting, as it was to be the old us in all those new settings.
It’s a strange sensation to describe, this homecoming of ours. I love knowing the streets and directions and which exact isle at the store has cereal or coffee. We love seeing the familiar faces and hugging all the friends and family that were so so missed.
But it’s also a little jarring sometimes. For me, it feels as if I have a new and attached shape of…something… all around me that is not quite solid, but more substantial than air, and I keep knocking it up against doors and boxes and pedestrians as I walk by. I don’t take up the same shape of space as I used to, but I don’t know what shape I currently claim.
Coming from a South American sabbatical to start your entire career and community life up again, but with a more light-hearted and calm pace than you left with, within the structure of a modern American community template is a mammoth undertaking. Even when that community is as relatively laid back as CB.
It’s like trying to catch a brake-less racing train. Choice one: you can wait until the end of time for it to come to a full stop, allow you on, look around for your new seat and view, then- slowly-chug, chug, chug up to your pre-approved speed. Or, Choice two: You sprint alongside and jump.
South America taught me to look for a Choice 3.
Still looking. 😉
Thankfully, it is off-season here. It is quiet. The colors are gone and the snow not yet arrived and the tawny fields and stark aspen trees lend a peaceful stillness to our spirits that makes this strange reverse culture shock much easier to absorb.
I think we tricked ourselves into thinking that once we got home Everything would be so much easier! We would know exactly what people were saying, could follow conversations with ease and have current season Grey’s Anatomy showings each week.
Ok, that last one is just me.
Not the point.
The point is that our Sabbatical was never meant to provide us with the secret tools to An Easy Life.
It was meant to provide us practice time with some pretty well-known tools for living Life.
And so as we start school and look for work and buy cars, we also take long walks, lots of photos, and do our own full-stops of time with people and places, and each other.
It is good to be home. Amidst all that we are figuring out anew, it is good to be home.
And it is good that home is foreign enough to us that we can’t live it on autopilot.
What a fantastic surprise.
“Everybody has to leave, everybody has to leave their home and come back so they can love it again for all new reasons.”
— Donald Miller