In my last post, some have gotten the impression that I didn't enjoy my time at home. On the contrary, I enjoyed my time very much, especially when spent with my friends and family. I have generous friends who let me stay in their spare room for weeks. I got to watch stupid tv and relax with people I love. I was able to join my bookgroup for their holiday celebration. I had dinners with friends who make me laugh. I got to play lots of Scrabble with my mother and got to hang out with my nephews. My brother and I got to talk smart. My sister-in-law and I got to belly laugh. We made kolaches with my dad on Christmas Eve. My friend Vicki got married in a beautiful little church in the hills of Iowa, and we had a rousing good time at her dance and reception in the Alamakee County Fairgrounds Pavillion. And, since we travelled to small-town Iowa for the wedding, I got to have a fabulous dinner at La Rana in Decorah with 5 of my favorite people on the planet. I even got to see a friend from Atlanta who I haven't seen in a year (and she's the sort I should really see every few days, if life were fair.) I got to have a few days being a 38 year old kid in my parents' home, just hanging out and talking and reading and playing more scrabble. I even got to take a trip to Chicago to get my visa AND to visit yet another friend who makes me snort when I laugh.
There are a few notable people who were elsewhere in the country during my visit, and I'm sad I didn't get to see them, too. But MAN did I feel surrounded by love.
I really hate the weather in the midwest in the winter, and I'm mad that my vacation was marred by flu. But one thing the Midwest can offer that nowhere else can....people I love more than anything in the world, who make me happy, who challenge me, who put up with all of my weird crap, and who show me more caring than one person deserves.
I am a people person, and now that I am living in a foreign country I am totally alone all the time. Sure, I talk to people at work and I'm slowly working on building a social structure, but the closest person who actually gets my jokes, who really understands the good and the bad of me and loves me anyway, is in Austria. After that, there's an ocean to cross, probably sitting next to a man wearing too much cologne.
God knows, there are days I'd prefer a sleet storm with a -70 windchill.