Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Post trip mishmash

So, here I am, in a very quiet house. I sent the girls off to Connecticut with my mom, so it's just me and my house for now. Everyone else is off at work. Did I mention how quiet it is? I thought about going shopping, but I think our credit cards are maxed out by the trip. When you are charging meals and transport for 26 things can get a bit crazy!!

My house is suffering right now from post-traumatic trip packing syndrome. In other words, there is stuff in every corner that is likely of no use to us right now because it was meant to be packed but left behind... in my messy house. While I enjoy solitude, I prefer it to be a bit more organized. I kind of want someone to come here and clean it all up for me. Or at least tell me what to do with the 150 T-shirts, half used rolls of masking and duct tape, empty/used tie dye bottles, thousands of ziploc bags that are floating around in odd places (found one on top of my 3 wick candle...?) and the 15 or so duffel bags that don't belong to us. It's all very messy. That's the best word I can think of for us.

The mess here resembles the mess in my head right now. I'm facing all those things I put off until we get back. Which we are. Make doctor appointments, dentist appointments, take care of school stuff, decide if we're going to move (long story, but the prospect of getting my house ready to sell isn't making onto my mental radar right now!) and the myriads of other thoughts from our trip are racing through the superhighway that is my brain. I'm really not sure where to start, although the trip to the grocery store yesterday was a good starting block! Must eat.

Things in Europe are so different yet so the same. We don't live next to or even close to Communism, so we don't understand the mistrust in people's eyes, or the hopelessness they feel. Homelessness isn't our neighbor so much in this county, so watching homeless men take over a children's playground in Paris while parents let their children play around the blankets, shoes and mattresses was eye-opening. Urban life, where everything you need is within arms reach, but grass is difficult to come by is a stretch for this suburban chick. Going to sleep to screeching train brakes as opposed to the rhythmic whistle of crickets also leaves an indelible mark on the mind. The personal touch of flowering window boxes, multiple ornate fountains and narrow, cobblestoned streets bustling with shoppers adds life to sometimes cold history surrounding European city blocks. It all makes me wonder how suburban America emerged from that! All very strange. Even our cities are no match in agelessness to what we find in Europe.

For all the differences, the smiles are the same. The laugh of a child, the discipline of an elder, the protectiveness of a mom, the adventurous mindset of a dad... it's all there. In a different world, far away. I'm sure some 38 year old European woman is sitting alone in her quiet home wondering how it will ever get tidy. She's wondering what teacher her child will have next school year, wondering how her life might change in the next year and wanting to savor the last days of summer. In a different language, in the same mindset. In a different setting, in the same wonderment. It's a lot to grasp but it's a beautiful reality. So much in common, yet worlds apart.

OK... back to life, back to reality. Better go fold the last of my post trip laundry and unpack the last of the team junk that we brought home. The world is much bigger than even I know. I think I just need to keep opening the doors to see it.

1 comment:

Kathryn said...

Good luck with the remnants of that tornado that tore through your house! ;-)

Whaddya mean, you're moving?!