Tomorrow we fly home. We do not know quite how to feel about it.
Part of me is delighted the end is here. After all, we have had a LOT of togetherness. Nerves are a bit frayed. Each of us has discovered at least one newfound pet peeve within the family.
We are tired of wearing the same outfits and living out of backpacks. We have unpacked and repacked one too many times.
We have traveled a lot. We have flown on jet planes, prop planes and helicopters. We have ridden gondolas, funiculars, subways, trains, mine tracks, taxis, tuk-tuks, bike, scooters, pickup trucks, busses, vans and elephants. We have floated on kayaks, rafts, junks, ferries, water taxies, bamboo boats, long boats (Laotian style and Thai style) and tour boats.
We will have flown 17 different airlines with at least 26 sets of takeoffs and landings. We have cleared customs in over a dozen countries.
In short, we have scratched our travel itch until it bled.
Also, we have much we look forward to seeing again. We are excited to see our friends and colleagues. We want to see Fenway. We miss the camp.
And yet . . .
We have also really bonded as a family and a traveling unit. Little rattles us any more and we feel equipped to address almost any challenge.
We have come to love the variety of each day. We appreciate the chances to learn about history, about geography and life. Seeing people who live (happily) on less than $1,000/year is enlightening. Much of our society suggests to us that we need lots of things to be content, yet we saw evidence that this is not true. Further, we got a chance to live it – we lived in a sardine can but got along lovingly.
We have most enjoyed coming to understand the kids as well as we have. We left thinking our children were younger than they truly are. Sure, they have grown while on this adventure, but we also realize that we were holding onto old impressions of them from the past. They are borderline adults. The boys will get their driver’s permit this year. College is close. We are glad that to see this now.
I also think they have come to understand my relationship with Susie even better. At least, I hope so.
Our last day has been a great ending. We walked the city of Christchurch one last time.
We went to a museum,
the botanical garden
and a butterfly exhibit. The one year earthquake anniversary is next week and the community plans to release 182 Monarch butterflies to commemorate each death.
We talked with the parents of Terrill’s dancing pen pal. They are simply lovely people. They understood that she wanted to spend her last evening with us and not at another dance class, but they have insisted on coming to the airport at 8AM on Saturday to see us off.
We will be traveling for 30 hours, so I’ll have a break before I post my final blog once we return home. I hope you have enjoyed our traveling blogs. I know I have loved sharing!