I didn’t want you to think our plane from London had gotten sucked up by the Bermuda Triangle en route to the US two weeks ago, and we had been living a dual life on a mysterious island run by the Dharma Initiative ever since.
That didn’t happen. The flight home (“home”) to Virginia was fine. Uneventful, really. Actually, eventful. For some reason Bryan tended to the kids the entire eight hours and I watched two movies, got hooked on some newish tv and read my book. That’s kind of like a Bermuda Triangle-thing to happen. Eerie but maybe exciting.
I’m checking in now because I finally have five seconds to do so, and because I want to make sure you know that I have read each and every one of your recent comments over the last few weeks and all the emails that have been sent to me personally.
I feel you.
And thank you.
I feel humbled by your support of this blog. (I feel uncomfortable too. Self-deprecation intermixed with random bouts of self-fandom (but only self) is more my steez.)
That said, I have my big girl pants (is it pants pants or trousers?) on and I am taking everything into consideration. I guess as they would say in the country from whence I just came: Watch This Space.
Our last few weeks in London were exhausting in a good way. So many goodbyes. So many things to try to see and do one last time. And the weather was so profoundly bad, it ripped at least 50% of the life force out of all of us. Can you believe I put weather on the list of things I would miss? I meant to say “narrower possible range of temperatures” but instead I said “weather” and now I have to spend my whole (hopefully very long but also quality) life living with that error. We had a last-minute pub night, dinner with friends at Mr. Chow, received many beautiful gifts that are incredibly meaningful to me and all very coincidentally feature something London or Britain-themed, and then for our very last weekend we were in a hotel which kind of befitted the surreal element to leaving a place bittersweetly. Nothing was cinematic about that very last weekend. No flat to look at longingly one last time. It was raining too hard to indulge in one last walk through Regent’s Park. Instead we managed to spontaneously make plans with four different friend sets and their kids on our last full day and so Jonah had at least four opportunities to faux-spear someone with a toy sword. And we ate unremarkable room service. Not bangers & mash or fish & chips, but just something generic and hotel-y. It’s like the gods knew I would want an easy transition.
But this next part is like a movie. You see, separately Matt & Trish and Melissa & Nick had requested to see us off at the airport on Sunday. And I said No multiple times. Why would someone want to say goodbye that way? It seems like so much trouble and a waste of their Sunday. What if they were just offering to be nice? Bryan – because he is normal and has a normal brain and normal self-esteem – told everyone they could come if they wanted to. And it was a good thing he/they did. 1. Because ultimately they were there for our kids, and our kids loved having them there. 2. Trish wrote out like 15 luggage ID tags for me. 3. Everyone helped with the luggage and Bryan couldn’t have his normal luggage-related outbursts. 4. I totally cried and cried and cried in the line at security looking back at our friends. Because no matter what I write or photograph or say, Jonah and Simon will never know how much they were loved by these people in the very beginning of them.
I pulled myself together after Security. I mean, is anyone ever still crying after Security? Can you imagine a Hollywood blockbuster where the heroine has to take off her shoes, then her coat, then check her pockets for loose change, then remind herself what earrings she’s wearing, then take her laptop out of her bag, then ask someone if a Kindle counts but everyone in line is glaring at her, then – because everyone in line is glaring at her and it’s making her nervous – fumbles through her purse and realizes she has no fewer than five little pots of lip balms and glosses and she forgot to grab one of those little plastic bags from the beginning of the Security line and now she has to withstand the fiery death stares of all the people who knew to grab the bag at the outset because THERE WERE HUGE SIGNS TELLING EVERYONE TO GRAB A BAG and it’s especially stressful because no one ever even knows if lip balm is a liquid or a solid and it’s such a grey area about lip balm really, then wait like an a-hole at the end of the conveyor belt seeing the first tray of her stuff come within reach but then stop while the Security person viewing the video screen stares and stares and stares and rewinds the conveyor belt and stares and then forwards it and the whole time even though there is nothing even remotely exciting inside and it’s obvious that even if there was, no one would catch it. Oh and then the part where it takes another hour just to get dressed again and re-pack everything and do it awkwardly while holding on to the end of the conveyor belt for balance. There’s no cinematic crying after that.
One thing I was reminded of that I love about Not-America is communal space airport seating. You wait in the middle of a huge atrium of shops and duty-free offerings and food and drink and you only go to your gate at the very last possible minute once the gate is announced. It’s like flight as train travel. I like it. Anyway, so there we were in communal waiting mode in Heathrow’s Terminal I-Can’t-Remember. And all of a sudden a little traditional Irish music duo sets up on chairs in the middle of it all and begins to play staggeringly perfect melodies as soundtrack to The Leaving. Violin, guitar, I think, I don’t know exactly. I only knew that I was dancing with my kids and thinking wait, maybe I can conjure up some tears again! Then Bryan hands me a book he had been secretly making for three months of photos of our entire five years. Dayenu.
And now, we are post-London. A tour through it:
My mom was standing there outside baggage claim with a Thomas the Train balloon. I knew she would have a balloon. A seven word sentence that encapsulates so very much.
I walked to the wrong side of our rental car to get in the front passenger seat.
I ate bacon the very next morning. The American kind.
Servers at restaurants keep giving me ice in my drinks and refilling them before I can ask or be asked. Mind blown.
We bought a car. I’m still not used to the idea.
The NCAA Tournament started and I honestly and truly was confused for a second. For five years Bryan had been deprived of live sports-viewing and it was awesome (for me). And now it’s not awesome (for me).
We started to clean out some of the 9,000 boxes we keep at my parents’. I’m a reformed hoarder but I can’t part yet with every note I ever took in law school. It’s sort of like as long as I hold on to my Criminal Procedure II final exam outline, the reality of my $100+K student loan debt and unemployed status will remain only a light-hearted and whimsical cocktail party anecdote. Should we ever be invited to a cocktail party.
We keep getting to see Amurrican friends, and our friends’ kids. Thanks for having us back, guys.
The sun keeps shining. Every day it shines and I think “what luck!” Eventually I will take it for granted but for now, it is so exciting!
I’ll be in Virginia for another month with the kids before our Brooklyn palace/shanty is ready. My parents/step-parents are loving on us and taking care of us and it feels good. They didn’t want us to live far away but we came back and now they never have to worry or feel sorry for themselves again! Except sometimes Bryan mentions job offers in Hong Kong for fun.
As our Between Countries And Moves vacation, we spent five days in Charleston, South Carolina visiting my younger brother and sister-in-law.
If you’ve never been, you are crazy. Go see why Conde Nast readers just voted Charleston the #1 top city to visit in the United States. When I hear all the upwardly-mobile British people yammer on about San Francisco and all the cab drivers recounting their last five trips to Orlando, I want to grab and shake them and say CHARLESTON! GO TO CHARLESTON! It’s beautiful and Southern charming and has beaches and is a foodie haven and people are so ridiculously friendly and they really do say y’all and it’s actually American enough to have started the Civil War. What was San Francisco doing while the rest of the country was fighting over slavery and someotherstuff?? Probably boring crap like prospering on the Gold Rush and legalizing gay marriage. Lame.
Also, in the South they do things like drive pick-up trucks and wear visors even when not golfing and eat grits and drink sweet tea and run for office using actual nicknames like “Teddy” and play Cornhole.
Micah and Janelle were like the best hosts on Earth. Micah wanted the kids so badly to himself, he got Bryan and me a night in a hotel downtown. His Uncle Energy is 24-7. They had toys and books for the kids and Janelle had organized an art project and baking and had – wait for it – made tater tots from scratch.
Then we got back to Virginia and explored the new Air & Space museum at Dulles with my dad and step-mom.
Then my mom had a Passover Seder and there was great company and legendary brisket.
Then the kids did an Easter Egg Roll in my mom’s neighborhood. I kept almost dying of preciousness.
Then we came down to my dad and step-mom’s for a few days. And they had a million family members over for Easter. And it was lovely. And my dad put a Peep in every single dish. And as I have mentioned before, the Brits do not have Peeps. Which says so very much about the vast divide between our two cultures.
well, now this blog has officially gone off-topic.
Maybe we’ll meet again soon.