With a heavy heart, part 4

A note of warning, before I jump into the fourth part of our month long road-trip: Because our trip was so extensive, eventful and wonderful at the same time, I decided to split my blog into several installments. The first part recapitulated our initial car-troubles whereas the second part told the wonderful story about excessive amounts of food and lastly, part 3: Texas.

Just another note of warning, firstly I won’t include any pictures of family members or friends, as I didn’t ask for permission. Secondly this is a quite personal recount of our month long road trip. It’s about the difficulties you run into, when you go back home… Fuzzy, emotional stuff, you know. So with this, enjoy (or not, that’s up to you). 

A always used to say, that he doesn’t like the destination, he loves the journey whereas I always loved the destination but never liked the journey. I guess A finally realized, why the destination sometimes matters more than the journey.

A and J in Philadelphia
A and J in Philadelphia

Not all in life is peachy. Some things are more like Wasabi peas, you can’t stop but ultimately they make you choke up. That bitter-sweetness is nothing that comes easy. During our month long road-trip we moved so quickly form one place to another, barely time to fill our bellies. We saw many friends and lots of family, but mostly we sat in anticipation whenever we would get closer to on of our destinations.

It is heartbreaking having to say goodbye to our dear ones so quickly. It doesn’t become easier as time moves on. Quite on the contrary, the older we get, the harder it is to say goodbye. The second we would get to a familiar place, we would dread the moment we had to leave. The realization came quickly though,  at the end of the day it was A and me sitting in the car, by ourselves. Having to leave behind people that fill our hearts with love and laughter…

The sadness already started the day we arrived in the US. Our hearts were aching, because we knew very well what was ahead of us: a month long drive with a month long goodbyes. Of course, you could argue that on the other hand we get time to spend together with people that matter to us, but it is never enough time. 

The last day in Georgia, at A’s dad’s house, we all felt it, but of course you don’t want to spoil the day with sadness. So we tried to push it away as well as we could, which ultimately ended in so many tears and so much heart-felt laughter. After all, this is what family means, when you can’t stop giggling about the silliest things, because you want to push away thoughts you don’t want to have. So instead you take silly family pictures, but these memories matter more than anything.

Family is standing in Wegmans, having to entertain a seriously hangry A, while waiting for his brother to pick out what ever pistachios where best for baklava. But it’s also arguing about whether lightsabers is one word or two (still don’t know and frankly don’t care either). Family is playing video games with nephew and nieces and trying your very best and still losing (not so graciously). And family is taking your niece out to the movies on a Friday night. It’s the little things we do, like cook dinner for your mom when she has been at work all day. And family is sitting on the softest sofa on the world with you newest Christmas blanket!

J and the BEST Christmas present ever: KINGSIZE blanket
J and the BEST Christmas present ever: KINGSIZE blanket

Family comes in so many different forms, sometimes we don’t even realize how strong the bonds are that we created. I only met A’s mom’s family once during A’s brother’s wedding (now that is a complicated sentence). And let me tell you, 7 years is a long time. But yet, it is quite an experience entering a living room we’ve never been in and feeling loved. An unexpected experience, one that makes you wish you’d live closer so you could visit more often. I mean, who gets up at 3 am on New Year’s Day to turn the brisket? Just because! I know, I personally would have gone with a less elaborate meal (I’m lazy) but when the table is almost folding underneath the weight of home-made food, that’s when you know, that first you are in Texas and second that you are loved. Someone that doesn’t love you, will probably not feed you that much homemade stuff! Remember food travels through the stomach!

And what is the complete opposite of the Texas family? The Greeks! Oh, the Greeks! Why not more Greeks are deaf, I do not know (but then again, they might be, I didn’t look at statistics). I have always loved A’s Greek side, because I always, always, always wanted a Greek family, for no apparent reason other than for the fact that they are Greek and loud and hilarious and wear their emotions on their sleeves. I was raised in a household where I was the most emotional being. That is not to say that my family doesn’t show emotions, but they just show it in different ways. In ways that a Greek would never in a million years think of. I give you an example, my dad teared up (TWICE!) at our wedding. Before that, the last time I saw my dad tear up because of joy was when… well… let me get back to you on that… But Greeks already cry before you enter the room, before you can say hi or how are you or give them a hug, they already cry and I am eternally grateful for that!

And of course there are friends! The best of friends! All of them at different stages in their lives. The Mars bars-superheroes had an unbelievably cute Reese’s cup and bought a house and just in general are doing amazingly well. They are just the most amazing hands-on parents and I don’t even think they know how much A and I admire them.

My best friend Ams moved on from contra dancing to swing dance (I think…) and she still makes me laugh tears with a single word. I don’t know how she does it, but for as long as I live, I know that she will have a special place in my heart and that’s not only because she married us. And having to say goodbye to her broke my heart, it always does. You have to know, that Ams is very wise! She wouldn’t let us leave with one last life changing advice, “Check the tire pressure”. Which was great advice given that one of our tire only had 7 PSI left. 7! (Supposed to have 30!) I want to note here, I had mentioned the low tire pressure to A before, but he continuously kept saying “nah, it’s fine”. It wasn’t. But if it wouldn’t have been for Ams’ advice, I don’t think A would have checked out the tire pressure. So, as usual, thanks for the advice Ams, you saved my life! I like to think quite literally, I don’t think we could have driven much longer on a tire with as little tire pressure as we had.

Of course, we went back to Virginia too. Back to where everything started and I couldn’t have been happier. Virginia is still home in a way, that any other place never could be. Seeing the farm again, where I spent two of the best years of my life filled my heart with happiness. There is something about Virginia, it never lost its’ magic for me… And where there is one home, there is another.

A in Glenside, PA
A in Glenside, PA

We couldn’t have gone to Pennsylvania without stopping by A’s old neighborhood. And then the next day we just had to go back and get breakfast at the diner where we had breakfast so many times before. The place where the waitress asked me how I wanted my eggs and I replied “cooked” and she looked very confused. But then again, so was I. Never heard of such a silly thing, ordering eggs in 7 different ways… Who needs that?

A and I on our last day in Philadelphia, Daddypop's
A and I on our last day in Philadelphia, Daddypop’s

In conclusion, I can say, this time around it wasn’t easy to leave. It never is, anyways, but it seemed that this time it was even harder. And both, A and I struggled with having to say goodbye so quickly to so many dear friends and family members but we are also eternally grateful that all of these wonderfully amazing people took time out of their busy schedules just to let us visit with them! How lucky are we?! Yes, we know, we are very lucky, so what is left to say? I think, the most appropriate thing would be thank you. Thank you to you all who contributed to a wonderful trip and thank you for all the memories we made together!

Also, on a unrelated note, the road trip is still not finished but I’m getting there… eventually. You wouldn’t eat a whole bar of chocolate all at once, would you? Yes?! Well, me too… what can I say. But I promise it’s worth the wait…

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