Goodbye, Europe! Hello, America!
A lot has happened in the last few days, with plenty of goodbyes and hellos.
On our last night in Rome, we walked to Orange Trees Garden (Savello Park) on Aventine Hill. All week, I’d looked across the river from our terrace to the umbrella pines on the top of that hill, where I could see people watching the sunset. This time, we were those people.
After the sun set, but while it was still light, a storm rolled in.
We stood under an orange tree with a bunch of strangers, waiting out the storm.
But not everyone hid from the rain….
(Is it creepy to take pictures of strangers? I wasn’t the only one doing so. It was just such a beautiful shot, how could we help ourselves?)
The thing about saying goodbye to the sun is that you know it will always be back. And sure enough, I got to see the sunrise the next morning, when we got up early to head to the airport. We had a smooth, 9.5-hour direct flight (the pilot shaved an hour off the flight time!), and then we landed in Detroit. One of our sons really enjoyed the fact that, with crossing 6 time zones, this was literally the longest day of his life. I enjoyed the fact that the time zone change nicely offset my insomnia. I slept less than an hour on the plane (but did enjoy watching four different movies!), but then I napped as soon as we got home, then got up at 9:00 (3:00a to my body – about the time I frequently fall asleep) and went to bed. And I actually fell asleep almost as soon as I got in bed – a real rarity these days! Obviously the cure for my insomnia is regular trips to Europe, yes?
Coming home has been very emotional for me. In addition to the regular post-trip let-down that is pretty normal, I’ve had all the difficult feelings of grief over my dad and dread over getting back to my medical treatment reality. I think I’ve mentioned before that I found on this trip that the transitions – moving from one city to the next – seemed to trigger my grief in a more intense way. Small goodbyes seem to bring up my feelings around my much bigger and harder goodbye. This has been all the more true with coming back home.
Sunday I said “hello” to home in a big way by heading to the hospital for the first time in 47 days, for my CT scan. And this morning, I was back yet again, for my next chemo infusion (I’m writing from my infusion chair right now!). Apparently, I was more eager to get back here than I knew – I wound up coming an hour earlier than I was supposed to (7:30 this morning), and I didn’t realize my error until my blood work was already done.
Even though we’ve said goodbye to Europe, our sabbatical isn’t over yet. We have one month left, and we’ll be spending it reflecting, writing, resting, doing a little stateside travel, and of course, getting more chemo. All those blog posts I had in my head while we traveled may actually happen this month, or at least some of them, so I hope some of you may still be interested in reading about our experiences in Europe even though we’re no longer there.