Cupcakes & hotdogs

Today was the first day I have felt like myself again following another gruesome trip over the Atlantic. The airplane didn’t turn back this time, but we missed our connection in Washington D.C. and got stuck overnight there for the second time in less than three weeks. I could go on about the inefficiencies at IAD, but let’s face it, rants are really boring to read. We made it home safe and sound and eventually recovered from jetlag – Ayo’s little body coping exceedingly well this time (by night #3 he was back to normal! I can’t tell you how thankful I am!). From the moment we landed, I was shooting off dozens of emails and waking up at 6am to make notary phone calls in vain hopes to seal the deal on our house sale in France. And I have been slowly chipping away at the overflow of clothes and toys, toiletries and purchases emanating from the cases sprawled out in our living room ever since…

Yesterday, I finally realized I was back in America and it was a little destabilizing. Very destabilizing. That is how I usually feel when I come back to America from an overseas trip. The flat, one story strip-malls; those bloated SUVs; the loud voices; the dumpsters in the alley – they all make my heart ache. An unmistakable feeling of anxiety spreads from my chest up to my neck until my face feels beet red with angst until I can fill my mind with some distraction. That is always how I feel when I return to the reality of my life here. But this time, I am not sure why, but it felt like it was almost as if I had left for good. Maybe it was all the deep and wonderful goodbyes we had stacked up prior to our departure. And yet here I am, right back where I packed for our exciting trip, including a stellar babyless lovers’ weekend in Paris, with little to no exciting pressing things on my calendar apart for my sweet niece’s birthday party. The ocean wide streets; sickly sweet cupcakes and cheap hotdogs; the fact that TSA “stole” 5-6 of my carefully picked out chocolate bars from my case is physically nauseating. I’ll eventually find my footing again. But, it is really really hard to be back.

14 thoughts on “Cupcakes & hotdogs

  1. Ah. I am so so sorry. I wish aching hearts could be removed and placed on a shelf until the pain lessened. I hope your dear little Ayo is giving you smiles to cheer you up and that God whispers something to you–whether through His Word or a person or a special moment–that lifts your spirits.

    1. That Ayo is certainly taking the edge off, that is for sure. What a gift.
      Thanks for taking the time to write a word of encouragement, friend, on the heels of your beautiful post on coming back and dealing with the tension of the aches and the joy and filled heart. I so appreciate it.

  2. Iknow exactly how you are feeling.

    I have just come back off a trip myself, this one from the UK (home coutnry) to Brazil (new home country). It took me a couple of weeks to get back into the swing of things and even now I sometimes feel as if I am in a half world of right and wrong.

    Keep going and you’ll find your distractions soon enough.

    1. My husband read your comment and he said: crazy how, without knowing each other, fellow TCKs just “get it”. It’s so true. Thanks for stopping by, Stephen, and I hope you can remember things you love about Brazil this week all in creating Britain all around you.

  3. Oof. I feel ya. For me, the beet-red blood to the head and angst is accompanied with shame that I feel that way, like I’m betraying the place I supposedly come from and my sweet relatives that live there.

    1. Thanks, Val. You know, I don’t feel shame for feeling this way anymore. I have learned to expect it as a normal part of my Third Culture Kid journey. My anguish, this Wanderlust, is not about dear friends and family here (or the things they love about being here) but the reality of me being trapped in the tension of being here yet still not sure how to use my skills and how to cope with missing food and so many other things and so many people a world away. Feeling like a misfit, all in deeply loving my family and friends here.

  4. oh sis… those feelings are not easily felt and much less easily admitted to and written. thanks for sharing! (as i was reading, was listening to jj heller’s song “Have mercy on me” … take a listen) love you! and while realizing you have such mixed feelings being in denver, we are thankful to have you guys around. and that wee neice of yours would be asking “where is uncle cookie?!” if you weren’t at her party!!

    1. Thanks so much, sis. Haven’t had a chance to listen to that song yet, but I wanted to write a little word of thanks for rocking my world in the best way with your two little shadows this week. Today, looking through Z’s photos, I was reminded how sweet and what a privilege it has been not to have missed out on many moments at all of your littles. What an honor. Love you. And love being an auntie twice over. And we loved the party today!

  5. Hi Esther,

    Just catching up on your blog. We just got back from CA. Though I know it isn’t at the same level of culture shock, I too am in a bit of a funk. Saying goodbye to so many loved ones, so much support, and all the things I love best and consider HOME has been hard. My poor kids have not had the best of me as a result this week. I feel you! XOXO.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Diana! That means a lot.
      How are you doing now you have been back for a few days?

  6. I think I might need a cheer me up European coffee playdate this time around. One more week for me and it is back to reality 🙁

    1. Aww, you are too sweet. For some reason TSA had a weakness for milk choc! I had a few Milkas (plain Alpine milk) and Toblerone that disappeared amongst those…

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