We have just returned from travelling. We made a car trip to visit friends and family for Christmas and New Years. We put 4000 kilometers on the odometer and drove over mountains and through snow storms (well, only a couple of little ones). We braved minus twenty C. temperatures.
It was a wonderful vacation. We feasted, skied (both alpine and cross-country), partied, shopped, watched movies, soaked in the hot tub, played crib, and read novels. We crossed two provinces and visited in four different cities/towns. However, the thing that made the trip wonderful was seeing our dear friends and our children, grandchildren, and other dearly loved family members. It was so good to spend time visiting people we care about and yet who live so far away. My only regret is that we didn't manage to see everyone, but there is only so much that you can pack into a two-week road trip. (Next time...)
We returned home this evening just as it was getting dark. Today's leg of the journey was 650 kilometers, and we drove it essentially nonstop, only pausing briefly for bathroom breaks and to get gas. Our bodies were vibrating and our ears buzzing as we pulled into the driveway after two days of driving from the home of our friends.
As we were driving back, I was already missing everyone, and thinking nostalgically of the fun that we had had, and how the days had zipped by so fast. It didn't seem all that great to be going home, and that the holiday was over. I was thinking grumpily that it was a bad idea to be living so far away from the people we care about. And yet, boy oh boy, when we pulled in and stepped through the door, home sure looked good.
We like our home and our city. We are happy to be together and we have a happy life here. Tomorrow we will pick up our pets from pet jail (the kennel) and home will seem even better.
What is the first thing that you do when you arrive home after a longish absence? Unpack the car, read the mail, do the laundry, buy groceries? Well yes, I do those things too. But usually the very first thing I do is walk around the house and yard, looking at my home. "I'm back, house." Back home, back to my life and usual pattern of activities. Back in this place.
Next, I typically read the mail, listen to the phone messages, unpack the car, put on a load of laundry, and then make a home-cooked meal out of whatever I can scratch together from the bare cupboards and freezer. After two weeks of delicious holiday meals, it is still very satisfying to cook a dinner and sit down together to eat it. (For the record, tonight I made made king mackerel with a korma sauce, baked yams, baby potatoes, and broccoli.)
The other rather strange thing I often do upon returning home is clean the fridge. The refrigerator is never so empty as when we have been away for a few weeks, and grubbiness is more apparent when the shelves are bare. Coming home, I see everything with fresh eyes, and am more apt to notice things that are messy or dirty. Although I am not a terrific housekeeper, on returning home after being away I am always seized with a zest to clean and tidy things (which unfortunately doesn't last long). And in any case, it just seems to make sense to clean the fridge before going out and buying a bunch of groceries to fill it up. So after dinner tonight, that is what I did. Tomorrow, we'll go get the pets, and I will tackle the laundry, the bills, and buying groceries.
Then, hi ho, hi ho, it's back to work I go.