A Traveler’s Terrene

You only live once. What are you going to remember the most?

Nostalgia February 7, 2009

After hours of packing…unpacking…repacking…packing…unpacking..repacking…I finally squished a years worth of stuff into two bags and a carry on and walked out my parents door, not to return for another year…or longer. Looking back as the car pulled out of my driveway, I was overcome with mixed emotions. On one hand, I am ecstatic to return to my life in Italy, to be around the language, to live abroad and to be pursuing my passions. I am thankful and grateful for this opportunity, it is everything I have dreamed for and I am excited for this new adventure. On the other hand, knowing that I will miss out on the simple joys of waking up to my dad cooking breakfast, making lunch for my older brother Mark , or drinking a glass of wine with my mom makes me emotional. Sure these are just simple, ordinary things; yet, because I will be living thousands of miles away with an ocean between, I simply can’t do them, and this makes me sad.

My brother Mark is a globetrotter as well and is leaving with his girlfriend Lindy in three days for Guatemala for five weeks. I went into his room to see how his packing was going and after a big brotherly hug, I was in tears. Giant, wet, mascara running tears. Partly because, I’ve been so wrapped up in my on-line life (writing, blogging, facebook, emails etc.) that I’ve hardly hung out with him, one of my best friends, and partly because in a few days and I won’t see him for a year. I am mad at myself for wasting the past month of us actually being home together, because with life, you never know where you are going to end up. What if we never live in the same city again?

The  emotions are  the same for my parents, oldest brother, sister-in-law and nephew. I still fortunately don’t have to say goodbye to them for a few weeks, but I know when I do I will be in tears. You will know it is the day I am leaving if you see me with big, wet, mascara stained cheeks.

I know I am on the right track by following my dreams, but it still doesn’t make it any easier to leave the people I love. To know that I will be missing out on all of the little things, the simple pleasures of ordinary life with family is what makes it the hardest.

Yet, in the cloudy mist of my teary eyes, I know things always work out for a reason. If I was meant to stay, my heart would tell me not to leave. But, my heart is not ready to stay idle, yet anyways.  I have to keep moving forward, I still have so much terrene to explore, so many new things to experience.  This wonderlust heart is part of me. I can’t keep it caged, I have to let it roam free.

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A Wonderful White Washington Christmas December 29, 2008

It definitely was a white Christmas this year in Washington. The first snowfall was beautiful as I curled up on the couch with a steaming hot cup of tea, reading a book and watching snowflakes fall from the sky covering the ground like a soft down blanket.  And, you would think that as the snow continued to fall, leaving me snowed in at my brother’s house for over a week I would have had ample time to write on my blog, but what can I say….my nephew is a great distraction!

So, to catch you up with how life back in the States here is just a snapshot of favorite moments over this past week:

–Catching up with all of my childhood neighborhood friends at the Davenport Neighborhood Christmas Party my brother hosted at his house. He even creatively decorated the front entrance with old High School year books and Davenport memorabilia, it was quite the night!

–Bonding with my brother Mark’s girlfriend Lindy (of all names!) and discovering in our drunken state that

Cindy + Lindy no Whiskey= Vodka

Needless to say, we (and especially me) had quite the hangover the following morning.

–Reuniting with Suzanne, a.k.a. Sister Zesma, after 2 months of separation!

–Jordan and Cliff’s delicious home cooked dinners paired with soothing Jazz music

–Mark and Cliff re-teaching me how to properly snap a kitchen towel. Gotta love big bros!

–Spending the night at my friend Marie’s house during a winter storm. We cozied up with drinks inside as the snow fell listening to Steve, Brian and JB play music and around midnight we all piled on our snow gear and did penguin dives down the city street hills, socialized with people sledding, played a game of football in the park, made snow angels and constructed a  jungle gym obstacle course.

–Watching the Seahawks game at the Schrecks and learning how to play Apples to Apples, one of the funnest board games out on the market right now!

–The whole Swain Gang driving back to Davenport listening to Christmas music–my brother Mark and I sitting in the back seat entertaining Thomas with goofy faces, books, and cheerios.

–Walking through the front door of my parents house for the first time in over 10 months. They had redecorated many of the rooms, so although the house look different, it still invoked in me that same sense and feelings of “home”.

–Seeing Thomas in his adorable little suit and tie for Christmas church service

–Opening presents with the fam and watching their faces light up with smiles when they opened my gifts

–Spending Christmas day with the Rambos, Olsons and Hergerts–my second family.

–Driving back to Seattle with my good friend Micheal and catching up on the past 10 months

–Making incredible memories at the Annual Christmas Party! About 20 of us get together each year, cook up a Christmas dinner feast, play a white elephant gift exchange and go crazy until the early rays of the morning sun peak it’s way into the windows of the house. This is an event that I look forward to all year, knowing that for one night all of my closest friends who are now spread out all over the U.S. are together for one night of new memories and laughter. Although we may not see each other as frequently as we use to, in the first greeting and hug–we are back to where we left off  like nothing has changed. Good friends are hard to come by and I feel truly blessed to this group of intellectual, funny and amazing people in my life!

–Hanging out at the Shay’s house after the Christmas party. It’s so great to relax in comfort of good friends.