If this were a normal summer, I would have spent my morning teaching English to Croatian middle school children.
This is not a normal summer.
There’s a walkway outside my office that takes you to a lower floor. I walk out there every morning on the way to a daily meeting. The air is always a little damp and a little dim. And the air smells a little like early mornings in Croatia on the few days I’d get up early enough to go running before breakfast.
And I miss it.
I miss the river. I miss the beaten-up old town where we always stayed. I miss my friends. I miss the people I came to know as family.
I miss their homes and their hospitality. I miss sleeping on mattresses on their floors. I miss waking up to the sound of birds and the occasional truck lumbering by the open window. I miss the food–even the pickled stuff. I miss the fried eggs (I make my own all the time now, just to console myself) and the börek and the baskets and baskets of bread.
I even miss not having air conditioning. I miss sitting in the river to get cool. I miss feeling like I needed three showers a day.
And I especially miss my students. And I’m so sorry I couldn’t be there this year.
There’s this wedding, you see. And I’m the bride. And I’m marrying the boy who told me he loved me at the end of our trip to Croatia one long year ago. I wouldn’t trade marrying this boy for anything–not even going home away from home.
I only wish that somehow I might have done both.