“Maybe that’s the best part of going away for a vacation–coming home again.” ~Madeleine L’Engle
It’s this autumn past and I’m in Andalucía, Spain with my husband, reveling in all that is different from home. Big haunches of jamón and vibrant Flamenco dresses hanging in shop windows. Narrow roads winding through silver-green olive groves and cork oak forests. Families and friends taking to the streets for the late evening stroll called the paseo. Ruined castles and palace gardens. Ancient bridges and lovely mosques-turned-to-cathedrals.
I love hearing Spanish all around–such a beautiful language–and trying to speak it. I love sampling new foods and dishes, like Rabo de Toro (bull’s tail) and Pimientos de Padron (small green peppers deep-fried in olive oil). I love meeting new people and hearing their stories, and I love seeing new birds and new plants. I love walking unfamiliar streets and alleys and paths, every step a revelation. I love speeding on a fast train into unknown territory.
But then it happens. As it always does at some point during even the best of our trips.
I start to miss home. Really miss it.
And by home I don’t just mean our house or our five acres or our town or our state or our country. Home is these, yes, but so much more. It’s beloved family and friends. It’s animals we love, too–both our own menagerie and our wild visitors. It’s snowy Mount Rainier beckoning and the rushing sound of the Carbon River and the smart crows flying to roost in the cottonwood trees. It’s the sun shining on the deep green Douglas firs and, yes, even the frequent rain, the emerald moss, the banana slugs.
It’s the things we take for granted. A plethora of relatively clean and spacious public restrooms, for instance, or mountain roads wide enough to safely accommodate two cars. Or how our national parks and wilderness areas are so pristine and wild–truly jewels.
To me, this home of ours means diversity–how boring it would be if we all looked and acted the same and liked the same things (not to say that Spain isn’t diverse, but it does seem less so). I love that we don’t have to go very far to find different ethnic foods, and even good fast ethnic foods. In Spain, particularly in the smaller towns, good Spanish food is what you find and eat, and eat slowly, very slowly, taking your sweet time because the wait-staff will never, ever rush you out. For the most part, I liked this–except for those homesick times when I missed our local pizza or teriyaki place, where you can grab a meal at a moment’s notice and rush it home to eat while binging Netflix.
Coming home, I revel in the familiar that now seems brand-new and exciting. This big, beautiful country of ours passing beneath the plane wings. Seattle’s starry lights and Space Needle piercing through the clouds. The rural road that brings us to our very own farm, the animals waiting. The little house that seems like a palace after so many nights in hotel rooms.
Home: There’s no place like it.
What do you love best about coming home again?
Thanks for reading~