Today I am home for exactly one month and it is, well; weird. So this blog will be all about how great it was to see my friends again, the comfort of being home again but also the miss of travelling and the feeling off misplacement in where I am now, torn between the changed person I am and all the stuff I have seen and the day to day life here. And also about the very last bit of my journey; making it into Canada and therefor having officialy made it from Panama to Canada!
I'll start with the last bit of the journey, trying to kind of bring structure to my thoughts ;) The last few weeks in Burlington were very nice, there was time to spent with the family (Ian's family mostly) one day we wetn for a beautiful walk in the grounds of the Shelburne Farms, this ia a gorgeous mansion with a view of lake Champlain. And one of the best things we did in the last week was the visit to Montreal! Brenda and I drove to the border on a Sunday morning, it was a great moment to recieve the stamp of Canada in my passport :). The whole day we explored the old city, walked over the campus grounds, along the riverside and up the the look out point to get a panorama view of the city. I really liked Montreal, it had a great vibe, probalby because of the lively student comunite and the combination of old and new, big and small buildings. It had a distinctive European feel to it and after all the polished, skyscraper, Amarican cities I had been in it was quite a relief! After a nice dinner we drove back to the Burlington and the next day I had to pack my bags. On Tuesday morning I took the Megabus to New York City for my very last night in America. Saying goodbye to Brenda and Ian was something I had not looked forward to, because they had been so hospitable and very nice they really became an important part of my journey and they now also have a very special place in my heart!
But in the end all the goodbyes were said and I was in the airplane, on my way home, it was very odd to be sitting there, realising that I had not been on my home continent for almost 8 months and that this was really the end of it... At the on the airport and at the passport control I was all of a sudden being spoken to in Dutch again, "Welkom thuis!" (Welcome home) the women who checked my passport said, and that was that. Next thing was walking into the arrivals hall and seeing my parents, sister and dog waiting for me, it was great to hug them again instead of being able to hear each other. Then there was my grandmother, it was her birthday and I really believe it was the best present ever for her to have me home again. That evening (as you might have seen on Facebook) my lovely friends had organised a welcome back party for me. They really caught me by surprise and I was very touched by what they had done for me! In the days following I had the chance to sleep in my own bed as long as I wanted, to wear a variety of cloths I didn't even remember I had anymore, open the fridge and just take food, and more of those comfortable things :) After that I went to all those places that had been in my imagination so often; walking the dog in the village, visiting the city with friends, and all those other super ordinary things.
After doing everything for a first time, seeing everybody for the first time, there comes a second and third time and, well, it gets boring. And since a week or so I have really begun to feel very detached from some things and people here, all so busy with silly little things and I can't help to think of the kids in Xela and I don't bother acting interested anymore, I have seen more important stuff and I will tell people. Or when I have to just walk around in this tiny village, instead of roaming the streets of Philadelphia or New York! In those moments there sometimes can be something that reminds me of my journey, I hear songs on the radio that I listened to with the Americans during our party weekend in Montericco, or I hear a song I always listened to while walking with Quinn in Centennial Woods, behind the house in Vermont. Or I see parts of movies, documentaries or the news in which I see people standing on places I've been, New York or the White house. And all of that makes me miss travelling so much. Unpacking my backpack just really hurt, imagining still smelling central America, or seeing stuff I found or bought there, makes me strangely homesick. As my sister (a studying social worker) diagnosed me: I've got a culture shock. So what do I have to do about that? Take time to adjust really, learn to live the “normal” life again and to fit in. But do you now what, I don't think I am going to do that. While travelling I once heard this great quote: "You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people things and people n more than one place." That is exactly what has happened, I left parts of my heart in beautiful Costa Rica, with the lovely animals in Puerto Viejo, and in Turrialba where I felt so very much at home that I feel as if I could fit into life there again tomorrow. And in Panama, on the gorgeous uninhabited islands of Bocas del Torro. And in historical Granada at Nicaragua's amazing volcanic lake. And a big part of my heart is still in Guatemala, as well as my thoughts, with the extraordinary kids and teachers of Caras Alegres and the beautiful country they are in. And, broken in small pieces, my heart stays in the US, with the hospitable southerners, the overwhelming nature and the great cities, but the biggest of those pieces is in Burlington and with the hospitable and amazing Black family! And now I have got two months left to fall in love with the great friends and cute villages and cities around here again, before I take on yet another adventure: Norway. I am more then ready to see what that country has in stored for me and what great people I might meet there, because of all the great things travelling has brought me, the bounds with all the friends I made are the very best!
So that is that, for 8 months I have shared my adventures and thought in this blog, in total I have written over 26000 words (damn I could make a book out of that!). I will stay active on this Worldsupporter account and who knows, I kinda like writing a blog, so you will here from me but the advantage of the first world is you could also whatsapp, facebook or email me ;)
Thanks for all the positive responses and sharing the adventures with me!
Lots of love,