Where in the world have we been?!
The United States of America.
I’m not kidding. We went home. For realsies.
We knew about it, you didn’t… because we wanted it to be a surprise! I know there were many of you we didn’t get the chance to see, but for those that we did, we are ever so grateful. Mere weeks before we left Thailand on December 12th, we had gotten news that my grandfather, my Papa (who was one of the main men in my life when my father became ill, then later passed almost 11 years ago), was not doing very well. I mean, he is 96 years old, has had quite the full and beautiful life, and has just now begun slowing down in the last year… but, I still wasn’t ready to let him go yet without getting one more chance to spend time together. Not to mention the fact that after a year and a half away, our families were really wanting to see us as well.
So, thanks to the generosity of family, we flew home. For a whole, entire, glorious, wonderful, chilly, Christmasy, snow-filled month.
Oh, and while we were there, internet was not so much available for blogging – that’s why my grand plans for a holiday baking series didn’t quite pan out (and I know the 3 1/2 of you that were eagerly awaiting it are so disappointed ;). Never fear, here’s a shot of the baking and candy-making that I got to spend an entire day doing with the marvelous woman next to me, my Momma.
There’s dark chocolate-mint truffles, dark chocolate-raspberry truffles, and lemon ones, too. Raspberry tea cookies, mini apricot-walnut tarts, peppermint bark, chewy chocolate pixies, and Dutch almond Banket. Mmmmmmmmmm. Not pictured are the Swedish breads we always make for our Christmas Eve smorgasbord (yes, my family is Swedish and carries on traditions like nobody else!). It’s amazing I didn’t gain 30 pounds while we were home, ya know?!
The feeling of cold wind in my face was shocking, but nice. Seeing, touching, and even throwing snow made me excited like a little hyperactive kid. Eating as much cheese and good bread as humanly possible was gut wrenching, but totally worth it.
But the best part?
The best thing was being with family. Waking up in the morning (from being snuggled under lots of warm blankets in a nice chilly room), and being able to walk out of our bedroom to see the people we love every single day was more incredible than I could ever describe to you. Being able to physically hug my own mother and brother… playing dominoes at the kitchen table with the family at Brook’s mom’s house… watching movies together at Brook’s dad’s… enjoying Christmas Eve with my Papa and the rest of the family… meeting our niece that was born a year ago after we had already left… all of those things were such an incredible blessing to us. A blessing that, when we left a year and a half ago, we didn’t expect to have for a full 4 year term. What a surprise it was to be able to go home so much sooner!!!
Really, I could go on and on and on about it, but no words that I could write or say could really ever convey the true joy it was to visit our home again. And even though it was really tough to say goodbye once again, it wasn’t quite so bad this time around. Why? Because it didn’t seem as final as the last time. This trip showed us that it is, in fact, possible to go home, that it is still a real place that we can reach, and that leaving home for Thailand isn’t actually the end.
So there, the mystery has been solved. And now we’re back.