And a good evening to you from across the Pond after another GREAT DAY in the Mother Country. If the readership will permit me (like you really have a choice), I will wax a bit emotional on this one, as today was an interesting one for me emotionally and mentally.
For starters, I woke up feeling lonely. Now granted, I hadn't seen my wife in 5 days and I'd just said goodbye to my mother after 4 AMAZING days in Amsterdam, but I think it was more than just the separation. I realized as I said goodbye to mum at Piccadilly Circus on Wed night that, for really the first time ever - I wasn't the person leaving. This time - I was the person left behind. It's hard to describe, but there is an emotional difference between the two. When you leave, you are going to your next (hopefully exciting) destination. When you are left, you simply return to normalcy (if there is such a thing for an expat), only without the person or people that had just brought you so much happiness. Couple that with the fact that I had no one to return home to, and it just wasn't a pleasant evening.
As I walked home down Regent Street last night, walked to the Tube this morning, and even got my jog in at lunch (25:15 for a 5K - I was pleased), I found myself thinking about the natural order of things and how, eventually, you mentally and emotionally know when it's time to do something and where you need to go next. I think that is the inertia that a new expat never sees through all the excitement, but someone who's been abroad longer starts to appreciate. It's not that I am not loving this experience, because I absolutely am. I can say without hesitation that these past 12 months have been among the best (if not the best) of my entire life, and I expect the next 6 to even surpass the previous year as we truly make a final effort to take it all in and enjoy every second. However, I have realized that, when December arrives, I will be ready to go home and try to find my place as an American again. It's more than the chicken wings, the Mountain Dew, College Football Saturdays, or even family. It's all that plus the fact that, once you're abroad, you realize that America truly does have a "culture," and it's one that I now appreciate and love a lot more. That is another reason this experience has been invaluable - I know see a lot of things in a different light, and I feel truly blessed for that new found insight.
I will say that the day absolutely rallied in the evening, as I met Kat, Fiona, and Lynda (Sam's Angels) for drinks at Waxy O'Conner's (KJ - tell me you're not proud). I went here with the team back in April, but I had NO IDEA how big that place is! We're talking 5 floors, with a bloody TREE in the center of the place - INSANITY. And I did try Carlsberg Export - that stuff is guuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuud...
From there it was over to the Mint Leaf, where we ate a DELICIOUS meal (Puma - you would have been so proud) before getting a night cap at The Imperial (Hitman - finally got that Doombar I was after - guuuuuuuuuuuuuuuud). We then said bye and I walked home, where I WAS REUNITED WITH MUFFIN PUFFIN!!!!!!! Her and the family were back from the Emerald Isle, where they have some GREAT stories (but you'll have to wait for her blog to hear them - that's right - Guest blogs from Mrs. Assignee 47 coming soon!).
It was so good to hug my baby again, and in that moment I had another (and don't worry - final) revelation about the natural ebb and flow of emotion. When the day had started, I felt like a guy spinning in space, alone in a big city with nothing but a beer gut and a hangover for company (melodramatic, I know). By the evening, however, I was back with my soul mate, had caught up with friends, and was rejuvenated from some exercise and a nice walk. So Thursday wasn't really all about closing doors and opening windows, but it was definitely one of those moments when you can almost feel God giving you the nudge, saying, "Don't worry, brother - it always works out. Just trust me." And I gotta admit - He sure hasn't failed me so far...
Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!
Sam and Jenny (REUNITED!!!!!!!!!)