I love to travel. Always have. I've been fortunate enough to travel a lot in my life. There is something about the unexpected. About the new. About an unfamiliar land filled with unfamiliar people. About the adventure that awaits you with each bend in the road. I like being reminded the world is larger than my eyes can see and imagination can conjure up. Traveling is a passion. It fills me with excitement. It does. So you may be surprised when I share that one of the highlights of traveling for me is coming home. I have two reasons. Reason one: There is a moment when I first open the door to my home where it is new to me. When I smell the familiar fragrance & see the layout of the room for the first time, again. It lasts only a split second before the normal, the established, floods in and, sigh, I am home. It's magical in a way. Don't understand what I mean? Try looking at a familiar room through a mirror. Go ahead, do it. Does it look different to you? It's something like that. Reason two: I like being away so I can appreciate being back. If you don't have home, you aren't really away. It's grounding, home is. Don't you think?
I arrived home late last night after spending a week in Michigan. Perhaps you were expecting something more exotic. Yet it is still an unfamiliar land filled with unfamiliar people. I can hardly believe I lived there, it's been so long. 13 years. In all that time, this is the longest visit I've had. And a week is a long time. Especially when you are without the internet. My mom asked me one day why I was carrying my laptop with me everywhere we went. In my mind flashed a bumper sticker I saw on a jeep once "It's a jeep thing, you wouldn't understand". How could my mother, who has yet to own a computer, understand the itch to check my email account, or my friends blog for the latest posts, or simply google Ryan Seacrest in order to answer the "how old is he?" question someone threw out. "I'm hoping to find internet access" is my simple response. Thankfully she doesn't ask me to explain why. Sadly, I never do find internet access.
My mom had a birthday on Thursday. That is why I went home- to spend it with her and the family. The family. I'm still in the process of meeting and getting to know my extended family. We only started having family get togethers and reunions a few years ago. I think it is the best decision we've made as a family. I've thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them all. It's somehow reassuring to find out your "quirks" are really "family traits" after all. You know how I never quite manage to say what I mean? Yep, "family trait". You think I talk fast or a lot? I'm claiming"family trait" on that one too.
My Aunt has a Bridal Boutique in our hometown. One day that may come in handy for me, but this week it came in handy for my cousin who was in need of a prom dress. Between lasagna and birthday cake, we walk to the shop where we have a private fashion show of all this years styles. You have to imagine 10 women ooohing and ahhhing at each gown my cousin tried on. Me snapping photos like a fiend. Sisters joking about dress sizes. Each of us breaking down colors and styles and voting on favorites as if it were the most important night of a 17 year old girls life. Well, I suppose it is, isn't it? I sit back and remember shopping for my prom gown and smile. I hope I remember this night just as vividly. It is fun.