I can’t believe it’s been over six weeks since I returned from my visit back home with my family. Time just won’t slow down and but I am finally getting around to posting a little recap. My trip home was short and sweet and on very short notice. I didn’t even announce it here on the blog because I didn’t want to jinx it and really wasn’t sure if I would actually be able to go. Well, I went and I soaked up every minute.
I am sure, you’re not interested in a minutely detailed account of my visit. I feel like we didn’t really “do” that much while I was there, although every day felt so incredibly FULL.
The highlights of my trip were…
… spending time with my niece and nephew
My niece is 13 and my nephew is 12, and as you can see, they are both as tall as me now. I hadn’t seen them in 2,5 years and they’ve grown so fast (please, look at the difference!). Someone — anyone! — slow down the time. I tried to spend as much time with them as possible in the short time I was there and it was wonderful. I hate not being able to be around more to see them grow up.
… getting to see a few other people
I didn’t see a whole lot of people outside of my family this time, partly because my time at home was short (and it had been so long!) and partly because of COVID. I still wanted to be careful and not spend time around too many people. I made some exceptions, though.
I got to spend some time with my aunt (my Mom’s younger sister), I spent a day in Köln with my uncle (my Dad’s brother) and aunt, and I also visited a family friend. I think I mentioned before somewhere that I have regular Skype dates with an old family friend (who is somewhat like a substitute grandma to me and my sister). She’s 91 years old and I am thrilled that she’s able to navigate the technology and have regular video calls with me. Still, it’s no substitute for in-person visits, and even though she lives about 2 hours from my hometown, I knew I had to go see her. While she’s in good health and spirit, you never know how many opportunities you’ll have left in life to spend time together.
… spending some time with my best friend
My best friend from high school is one of my oldest friends (we have known each other since elementary school) and she was dealt a pretty shitty hand in life. She’s been battling a brain tumor for more than a decade and has acquired a chronic pain condition on top of that. It breaks my heart to be so far away and not be able to be there and support her more on a regular basis, but I was so glad to spend some precious time with her during my visit.
… being at my childhood home
I love coming home to my parents’ house and sleeping in my childhood bedroom. I enjoyed breakfasts with my parents in our kitchen and spent some evenings just hanging out with my mom and dad in the living room, and I was so content and happy to just “be there” with them.
I realize how lucky I am to have a childhood home to go back to. Not everybody is so lucky.
I also really enjoyed being at my sister’s place. We spent a few evenings and Easter Sunday at her house and that also feels like home to me.
… going for a run (and quite a few walks) in my hometown
I love going for a run (or walks) when I am back home. Our town is on the smaller side and therefore easily accessible on foot (or by bike. I used to bike everywhere, when I was a kid).
As you can see from the pictures, we had beautiful weather the whole time I was there! My mom said that the weather literally turned and the sun appeared on the morning of my arrival and didn’t leave until I left again 10 days later. I guess, I delivered on my promise to bring some sunshine from California. These are definitely “California-blue skies”!
… going hiking in the Eifel
The Eifel National Park is one of sixteen (!) National Parks in Germany. They might not be as well-known, diverse, or scenically impressive as some of the National Parks here in the United States, but they’re worth a visit nonetheless. I am thrilled to say that Tom is turning out to be a pretty outdoorsy guy and he was super-excited that we were going to spend a day hiking in the Eifel. He always comes well-prepared and carries water, binoculars, and other field gear in his backpack and I know he’s super-excited to visit the National parks here this summer :) Greta, in typical teenager fashion, was a little grumpy before our hike but I think she enjoyed our day together, too.
… longboarding with Tom.
Easter Sunday was a gorgeous, sunny day and Tom kept asking if I wanted to ride longboards with him He hooked me up with all the necessary gear (wrist guards mainly) and we spent an hour riding the longboards around the neighborhood. I dare say, I wasn’t too clumsy and got the hang of it pretty quickly and we had a lot of fun.
… meeting my sister’s tortoises.
Well, actually one of them belongs to my sister, one to Greta, and one “officially” to my sister’s father-in-law. Tom was very firm on the fact that he preferred the two cats in the house and didn’t want to take care of a tortoise. They are fascinating to watch though, I have to admit.
… having some quality girl time with my mom and sister.
It was so nice to be able to spend some time with my mom and sister. We don’t get to hang out much in person, so every time we can be together is extra-special.
(The beautiful yellow flowers in the photo were courtesy of Tom, who plucked one for each of us during one of our walks).
… eating all the food
A recap of my visit back home would not be complete without drooling over all the delicious food that I was able to eat while I was there, amirite? I did not get to everything that was on my list, but everything that I did get to eat was amazing! :)
It’s hard to capture in a blog post what this time at home meant to me. I wish I was able to go see and hang out with my family more often and participate more in their daily lives (again, where’s the teleportation device when you need it?).
So but yeah, in case you couldn’t tell, I had a horrible time…. hahaha! [\sarcasm off]