Tag Archives: travel

Long

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I had forgotten how long the first week after a vacation can be.

I had forgotten how quickly it feels as if last week was a year ago, or a dream.

Yet I was away long enough that my legs and lungs forgot how to run, and retraining myself back to a 5K, though it took less time than I thought it would, seemed very, very long. Retraining myself for yoga after weeks of not doing so much as a downward facing dog, was embarrassingly challenging.

My legs and arms ache a little from the effort.

My head wasn’t used to thinking about my job. I had to reteach myself the jargon and relearn where we keep everything in the file system. And that’s probably why my head hurts as much as it does.

It’s Friday. And that’s a beautiful thing.

But it took its sweet time getting here.

Far Away

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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.

For My Croatian Friends

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I played UNO tonight, and thought of you. I taught your rules to the kids I was playing with, as well as the Croatian words for “yellow” and “green.” I couldn’t remember the words for “red” and “blue.”

Playing that card game made me miss you all. All my students. All my friends. The ones I call my “Croatian family.”

I can’t go back to Croatia this year. I get a little heart-broken when I think about that. But you see, English class ends on the day my fiance and I get married. I’m really, really excited about getting married. I wouldn’t move this wedding date for anything. But if I could take the whole summer off and fly to Croatia anyway, I would. But I can’t. Not this year.

I will miss you. I will miss your curiosity, your energy, your eagerness. I will miss the sound of your language, which I was beginning to understand just as I left last summer. I will miss your wildness. I will miss your smiles and the drawings you would leave me on the chalkboard after class.

I will miss drilling vocabulary words. I will miss telling you stories about Jesus.

I will miss listening to you talk about the things that are important to you.

So, remembering all those things you told me you wished for, I wish for you the following:

That you will get to go to America one day. Because you all told me you wanted to do that.

That you will all get to visit Britain one day, because you all wanted to do that, too.

And the one girl who wanted to go to Brazil–I hope you go.

I hope you get the jobs of your dreams. I hope you make friendships that will last forever.

And if I could bring you all over here where I am, if only to make you feel as at home as you’ve made me feel every summer for the last three years, I would. In a second.

And I wish you’d all get to know God in the way I know Him. Because He loves you far more than I ever could.

All the best,

Teacher

Road Telegram

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Greetings STOP

Have arrived at a hotel after around 12 hours of travel time STOP Our hotel only allows for 24 minutes of free internet STOP Hence this telegram STOP

Not only will I arrive back in Anytown tomorrow after a long drive but I will also have to put in 2 hours at work STOP I am thankful it is only 2 STOP Even though they will be the least productive hours I will probably every work at the library STOP

As eager as I am to be home I am sad that this adventure is almost over STOP

As Always Rizzy STOP

To Grandmother’s House

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Grandparents’ houses are unique, yet somehow all the same.

They are all messy. Yet each household has a different kind of mess.

The older a person gets, the more she surrounds herself with memories. And the older she is, the more memories she has to hold on to. An older person’s home becomes a nest of memories.

My grandparents’ home was like this. It got progressively messier every year, mostly because my grandparents lost the energy they needed to really take care of the place. But they kept accumulating memories. Pictures. Bits if this and that from their many travels. Their home became their memories. Once we took away the memorabilia, it was no longer their home. Just four walls and a roof.

My step-grandmother has a fastidiously clean home. Everything but the grandkids’ play table is tidy. But there are family pictures everywhere. They crowd table tops and walls and bookshelves. It’s as if age has allowed her to realize that it is not possessions that are priceless, it’s people. Her people are her nest.

The same is true of any grandparent’s home. The walls and shelves and refrigerators are lined with faces. Friends and family and families of family. Everywhere you look, there’s another familiar smiling face. Take them down, and one gets the feeling the house would unravel, or melt the way a dream melts when the sunlight hits your eyes in the morning.

Ring in the New

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In case you had forgotten or hadn’t noticed, today is the last day of the year. Just FYI.

It had been a wonderful year. More wonderful things have happened this year than I have space to write about. Or time.

You see, I am off on an adventure with my Adventure Buddy. I’m getting to meet his family. So far, fun people in fun places. Everything really is bigger in Texas. Once you get here, the state won’t let you forget you’ve arrived.

I have nothing special to say to welcome in the New Year or say farewell to the old. All I have to say for the past is it’s been a good year. All I have to say about the future is my hope it’ll be even better than the last.

Happy New Year, one and all. May yours be blessed.

Halfway to Houston

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Road trips are the best.

You’ll inevitably be crammed in a car, all of your available leg room consumed by luggage, handbags, backpacks, or instrument cases. The ceiling becomes your most comfortable (read: the only available) footrest.

There will be no access to a bathroom for hours. Once you get to a bathroom, you may wonder if a nearby forest would provide you more sanitary options.

You’ll probably end up eating fast food along the way. You’ll know how fresh or pesticide-laden your salad is by whether or not the bugs in the salad container are still moving.

And by the end of the day, despite the fact you’ve done very little in the way of physical exertion, you will be desperately tired.

But road trips are the best. They are full of surprises and promise and beautiful views out the car window. There will be new places to see and new experiences to live and write about. And delightful company.

All in all, well worth it.

There Again and Back Again

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I’m back!

I leave again tomorrow!

So far I’ve determined one sure thing about adulthood: you never stay still. I’m not sure why our parents spent so much time telling us to be still as kids, because that sure doesn’t apply once you hit adulthood. I’ve found that no matter how hard I try, I can’t stay in one place for long.

Thinking back on this summer wears me out a little. I spent a month at home before driving to Wisconsin, staying a week, flying home, then flying to Croatia the next day, then home two weeks later, only to hop in a car and drive to Georgia a day after getting home. Then home again for one week before school started. Oi.

It’s like I only come home to do laundry before throwing the same outfits back into my suitcase again.

Tomorrow I’m going to Texas. I’ll be gone a week. The adventures continue.

No rest for the wicked, and the righteous don’t need it. So they say.

Scary

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Normal people probably spent tonight in costume, party hopping. They will probably get home sometime early tomorrow and sleep for the rest of the day, quite possibly still in costume.

I am not normal people. I spent most of the evening on the interstate, on my way to visit a friend. Once I got there, I stayed a while, then drove back.

I was not keen on the idea of driving late at night on the interstate on Halloween. There be crazy people. Everywhere. And it was dark. And the best music to keep one awake on the highway is The Phantom of the Opera, which has a lot of loud and potentially frightening organ solos.

I lived to tell the tale, of course (or else, this is a ghost writer), But I’ve read enough scary stories about creepy things happening to people on haunted highways that my imagination might have gotten a little caught up in the drive and the music and the long, long stretch of dark, dark road.

On Halloween.

I’m not the superstitious sort. I’ve owned two black cats at once, and I don’t flinch when i spill salt or open an umbrella indoors. But a long drive at night, on a night like tonight, gives me a little boost of….vigilance.

Yeah. Vigilance.

Alternate Timelines

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It’s funny how vacation can make you feel as though reality has been suspended, if only a little. Time runs differently in your head, and a day feels like a week, a week feels like a month, and a month can feel like a year.

Take Croatia, for instance. I go to Croatia for a couple of weeks at a time, but it feels like a year has passed by the time I get on the plane to leave. I’ve done so much and seen so much in those two weeks that it feels like I’ve been there far longer than I actually have. But when I get back, suddenly I’m aware that only two weeks have passed back home, and I’ve got catching up to do.

My vacation to North Carolina this year was more like a long weekend than an actual vacation. I was there half of Friday, all of Saturday, and most of today. Now I’m home, but I feel as though I’ve been gone a month. Not nearly rested enough to have been gone a month, but still.

I’d love to know what my mind is doing in these alternate timelines. I wish that, if I were really gone a full month like my body seems to think, that I could’ve done a bit more with it.

 

1

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Lastly but not leastly, life is a journey.

None of us ever stays in one place. Not really. Our souls march over hills and through valleys. We grow and change inside, no matter where our outsides take us.

What’s surprising to me is how crucial this blog has been in my journey. When I started it, I didn’t expect to have followers or subscribers. I didn’t even expect that I’d keep up with it. Definitely not for three long years. I didn’t think it would be all that important to me.

Nor did I expect to change so much. I am not the same person I was three years ago. I am a deeper person now. I have experienced more than I ever had before. I have learned more than I thought I could ever learn. I have traveled more miles than I ever dreamed I’d travel. I’ve met people I never thought I’d learn to love.

And I have written many, many miles of words.

My soul’s gotten a lot of mileage in the last three years. It’s been all over Creation. And I wrote it down. All of it. Not all of it’s on the blog, naturally. There are some things the internet just doesn’t need to know. But in journals and on scraps of paper and in the margins of my class notes and stuffed in little boxes are pieces of this journey.

Life is not static. It is dynamic. If it weren’t dynamic, then we wouldn’t be made in God’s image—we’d be trees or birds or rocks. No…He made our lives to be rich and full and steeped in Him. And that takes a journey.

To think…I’ve just started. 

7

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I have wanderlust.

This came as a complete surprise. Until recently I’d spent my whole life as a homebody. I liked going to the same places and eating the same food over and over. I couldn’t imagine leaving home. I couldn’t cope with change.

I’m not sure where it started, this passion for travel and trying new things. Maybe it started with the blog, which was a bit of a leap of faith for me, a girl who didn’t even have a Facebook. But maybe it started before then, years ago when I fell asleep on a bus in Anytown and woke up in New York. Maybe it started with that flight to Germany when I was a little girl. Who knows? I won’t ask questions.

But this wanderlust blossomed when I went to Croatia for the first time. It got stronger when I went again, that time alone. The third time made it stronger still, although this time I didn’t go alone. Never alone.

Now I can’t stay still. The older I get, the clearer it is that this world is not my home. As a little one I was very attached to this planet and to my own little corner inside of it. Now I see the world as just a road. A long road with lovely scenery and rocky, rough pavement. No one can live on a road. You can’t settle down, you just keep moving. Sure, you stop along the way, smell the roses, take some pictures, but Christians aren’t exactly called to settle down. Not yet. Not now. The day for settling into perfect peace is coming, but it’s not today.

I have a long road ahead of me. It’s rather exciting.