Thursday, August 14, 2014

Back To Reality

Vacation is over but it was wonderful while it lasted. In fact, our American vacation feels like a lifetime ago.  It was just over a month ago that we set off for a fun filled four weeks of reuniting with old friends, visiting our old haunts and for the first time in many years, truly relaxing while on vacation. It was a month filled with dreams of our future and the reality despite being away for so long, very little has changed in our home country. I feared that my growing cynicism about where the country is headed would get the best of me but it didn't. I avoided conversations about politics, didn't watch or listen to any news and for a brief respite, generally ignored the outside world. Sidney may have said it first but I also relished in the fact that just about everyone spoke English. I didn't realize just how much easier life is when I fully understand the language being spoken around me.

But vacation was also a time filled with delight for me as I watched Sidney gain memories and experiences that he can only have in America. Sending him to a day camp for two weeks was one of the best decisions we ever made. In just a short time he blossomed as I have never seen him do before. First, his English is better than ever and as I watch his sun kissed body run around in our backyard I realize that he is no longer a little boy. As evidenced by his desire to show off his things and talk to strangers (especially cute waitresses), his shyness is all but gone. I swear he is taller, bigger (maybe it is all that ice cream he ate) and stronger than he was when we first arrived back in the States. He has gained a level of maturity and confidence that makes this mother proud (and a bit scared). I'd say this is the best souvenir we could have brought back to Belgium with us.

But reality is upon us. Reality means that in one week the school year starts again and along with it come a whole semester of extra curricular activities for Sidney. I'll be back to playing chauffeur each morning and afternoon and try to find my niche in between. Reality means I'm once again immersed in a French speaking environment where nothing is easy and I must always be on my A-game if I am to understand what is happening around me. Reality is being back in our quirky house with its intermittent hot water, sporadic power surges and ongoing dealings with a surly Belgian plumber and assorted repairmen. Reality means juggling a plethora of transformers and adapters before plugging my electronics into the wall and crossing my fingers while hoping I can find a parking space near our house. But reality means we are once again together as a family. Reality is back to driving my beloved Volvo through quaint streets instead of our behemoth, American sized rental vehicle on multi-laned interstates. Reality is also the wonderful opportunities that come with living in a foreign country. There are still so many places to explore, local festivals to attend and road trips to be embarked upon. The reality is that life and our reality is pretty darn good. And for that I am thankful.

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