Saturday, July 12, 2014

There's no place like home... but getting there was an adventure!

My bed! Oh how I missed you!
I’m sitting at my kitchen table, looking out my window to see my cars and my neighborhood. I’m home! It is so surreal. When I close my eyes I’m still not sure where I am. Our European adventure seems like a distant dream where I can still remember all of the details, but the longer I’m awake the colors become less vibrant.

Luke traveling like a pro, all
he needs is his Curious
George book on the train
All our bags
This last week has been quite the whirlwind. I was released from the hospital Thursday, tried to relax Friday (but still walked into Switzerland to get some chocolate before leaving), (this is Mike, Cabrina’s husband writing: I just want to clarify that I was opposed to her walking to Switzerland thinking she needed to rest, but as those who know Cabrina will attest, when she wants to do something, you just say yes ma’am and tag along for the ride. Please don’t crucify me for being a horrible husband and not taking better care of my wife. It wasn’t my idea. You may now continue reading the rest of Cabrina’s post) moved from our flat and took a train to Paris on Saturday, toured Paris on Sunday, Flew to the USA on Monday, then after a few relaxing days at my parents house in Tennessee, we drove to North Carolina on Thursday. Since then we have been moving back into our house and trying to mentally process this crazy adventure that is our life.

Our hike to Sacre Coeur
Such a beautiful church
Thankfully, we had a relatively easy journey back to the states. Our train ride to Paris was actually very pleasant. We had some friends drive us to the train station so we didn’t have to attempt public transportation with our 3 suitcases, pack and play, duffle bag, stroller, car seat, and 2 laptop bags. Luke was an angel on the train and we met some interesting women from Cambodia who were very pleasant to talk with.

Beautiful view of Paris... despite the clouds

Even the train station is
Paris was as beautiful as always… even though it rained the whole time. We had one whole day to visit a few things we missed the last time around. We made the hike to visit Sacre Coeur, a beautiful church positioned on a hilltop overlooking all of Paris.  We stopped by Moulin Rouge so Mike could see it. We found the Bastille memorial and explored the Victor Hugo museum. We enjoyed our last French croissant and crepe until our next trip to France (who knows how long that will be). Paris was the perfect way to begin and end our adventure.

The angel slept so well on the flight
The plane ride on Monday was a thing of beauty. Someone upstairs is surely looking out for us. We arrived at the airport and had the perfect amount of cash for the taxi. We scored a free seat for Luke on both flights home. Luke was again an angel. He closed his eyes the first 15 minutes of the international flight and slept for 2 hours. Then when he woke up, he quietly played for a few hours. Then he watched his shows for the rest of the time. The only time he became cranky was when we landed in New York and it took about 15 minutes to get out of the plane. He kept shouting “Off the plane!” People turned around and said, “I had no idea there was even a kid over here.” That, my friends, is the best comment anyone can say to a mother after an international flight.

Arriving in Tennessee was perhaps the most surreal part of the whole trip. That could partially be due to jet lag, partially because of the drastic weather change from wet and cold Paris in spring to HOT SUMMER in the south, and partially because it was where we started our trip. When I was in Tennessee before I was filled with such anxiety about this trip. I had planned for everything and had no idea what to expect. Being back in Tennessee, being embraced by loving arms, having help with Luke and having time to reflect on our journey brought a sense of closure and a dreamlike absurdity to the whole situation. I was finally able to rest and start to recover from the miscarriage. Physically, I had done a terrible job of taking it easy (but I’m not sure how I could have with our schedule). I still get dizzy and light headed when I stand too long. I am completely exhausted by 10:00am and have been taking wonderful 2 hour naps and am still ready for bed by 9:30 pm. Luckily, this distracted me from jet lag and I recovered really quickly from the time change.

But emotionally, on the other hand, since I have slowed my pace from 130kmh to at least 40 mph I have started accepting the loss we suffered. I feel so grateful that my mind has been occupied with other things, and that last week seems so far away.  I am trying to find a balance between dwelling on the loss so I can have a chance to grieve and move on, and avoid wallowing in sadness. It is a strange process to go through. It has been much harder than I anticipated seeing all the kind notes people have written to my family and me. I am so grateful for their love and I didn’t realize how much their words would help support me during this time. I am normally very private regarding the challenges that I face, and I tend to just smile and pretend everything is fine to everyone but my family. I know this will take some time and we are trying to just find the joy in each day.

Perhaps the last hiccup to our adventure happened on the way home. We were about 20 minutes from my parent’s house in Tennessee when our lift gate opened. We didn’t realize for a few minutes and as soon as we did, I ran out to close the gate and didn’t notice any thing missing. Then about half way through the trip Mike realized that our diaper bag with the iPad in it fell out. I was instantly sick with the prospect of sacrificing another expensive electronic item to the road trip gods. I instantly called my Dad and he kindly left work and made the drive to scour the roads for a canvass bag that may or may not be road kill. We were again reminded that someone upstairs is watching out for us when my dad stopped at a gas station and they had the bag… with the iPad! Some kind, wonderful, honorable, decent person found the bag in the parking lot of the gas station and brought it into the store.  

Now we are home; our wonderful home. The whole European adventure has come and gone and has left us changed. I now understand some French, am a pro at navigating a city and public transportation with a stroller, fear international flying with a toddler much less, have memories of some of the most beautiful country sides the world has to offer, can handle anything after crazy blood loss in a foreign country and am even ready to begin considering our next big escapade.

Oh Europe, I thank you for joy, sadness, stress, beauty, chocolate, excitement and the adventure.

Adding pins to our travel map

1 comment:

  1. Welcome home! I've been meaning to comment on this post for a couple days -- great post to cap off your adventure abroad. Looking forward to hearing more on the phone and seeing your beautiful faces on Facetime!