Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Journey Back to Europe

Man, do I love being home.  I love everything about it.  I'm a homebody by nature, but being home in Virginia Beach is extra special.  The days spent just hanging out are, to me, just as comforting and wonderful as the days spent doing something big and exciting. Add in my family and I never want to leave. That's where I found myself on Tuesday.  Never wanting to leave.

I spent Tuesday morning at my grandfather's apartment saying goodbye.   I think these kinds of goodbyes are the hardest because he won't be able to visit.  I love my grandfather and am so thankful to have him nearby, but it makes goodbyes even harder.  That afternoon, my mom and I went out to lunch and went shopping.  I wanted to get in one last good shopping trip before heading back overseas and this definitely satisfied my shopping needs, at least for a little while.

That night, I knew I wanted a simple dinner at home with my parents and that exactly what we did.  We grilled out, drank a bottle of Turkish wine I brought home, and made s'mores on the grill. I ended the night with a walk with my dad.  It was truly a perfect night.

The next morning, I got up early to say goodbye to my dad before he went to work. Normally, he would have come to the airport to see me off, but he does the mental commitment hearings for the city (what a guy! not an easy job and he loves doing it).  Saying goodbye was a tear jerker and really just opened the flood gates. I had the whole morning to sit around and dwell on my departure, which just led to a lot of Scout snuggles and tears over one last bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats.

Around 10:00, my mom and I decided it was time to leave. I had already said goodbye to my dad and my mom was coming with me to the airport, but there's something about leaving my actual home that just had me in tears.  We arrived at the airport at 10:30, two hours before my scheduled departure.  It ended up only taking about ten minutes to check my bags and print off my boarding passes, so we headed upstairs and sat in the Starbucks.  I don't even remember what we talked about, but I do remember wanting to just keep talking to keep my mind off of the fact that my time was dwindling.

When the time finally came to say goodbye, we both were crying.  I'm crying right now thinking about it. I'm pretty lucky when it comes to moms, so saying goodbye is never easy. After a long hug, a lot of tears and one last smile of reassurance, I turned and headed to security. She stood there and waved until I reached TSA.  What a good mom. There until the last second, like always.

When I reached the TSA guy, I was a blubbering mess.  I didn't even try and hide it. He could tell and started making small talk about where I was going and how everything would be okay.  I held it together and just smiled until he said "Who are you leaving behind?" to which I replied with tears brimming in my eyes "everybody."  Note to TSA guys, probably not the best question to ask a tear stricken girl in the airport.

I made it through security uneventfully (thank goodness because if they had asked to do a private screening or something extra, who knows what would have happened.  I was FRAGILE at this point.) and found a corner that was unoccupied to hide away in until it was time to board. My flights went smoothly, although I had an aisle and didn't sleep that much.  I made it to Berlin and through security without a hitch, which hopefully signifies a great start to an exciting year.

My month at home was perfect. I couldn't have asked for something better.  I'm incredibly lucky to have such an amazing group of friends and family to welcome me home and make saying goodbye so hard. Over the past year, I've definitely developed a greater appreciation of different cultures and how big our world is, but I've also gained a deeper appreciation for the place I call home and the people that make it so great.

"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard." -A.A. Milne