Friday, June 23, 2006

Home... sort of

After 22 long hours in apirports and planes I arrived home Tuesday night virtually in a coma. My stepmom picked me up at the airport and it was a miracle I stayed awake long enough to get home. As soon as we arrived, I sat down on the couch and promptly fell asleep. Not such a good idea, as I was wide awake and puttering around by 3:30 in the morning. Jetlag really sucks coming this way. Most people have trouble with it the other direction, but not me... it kills me coming back to the States.

I can't even begin to describe what it feels like being home right now. I'm unpacking my things in my dad's house, but not feeling settled. Everything is a disaster because this isn't my place and I don't know where my things belong. I have a closet and a dresser and places to put my stuff, but I can't seem to get it to all make sense. I'm feeling so incredibly discombobulated. (that word is there especially for the Queen of Sweden) To make matters worse, I feel more like I've disappeared off the face of the planet than like I've come home for a visit. I don't have many friends in Texas anymore to call up for a coffee or lunch or things, there are no little sidewalk cafes within walking distance to pass the time, I don't know what to do with myself if I don't make a "to-do" list in the mornings. I feel like I'm a person without a place - it's like my life has just stopped for the next two weeks. Does that make any sense? Maybe that's a good thing. I desperately need some down time to detox after Kosovo, but at the same time, when I leave my mind to it's own workings, I start to freak out about all that I left behind and get a little scared that I'm making a huge mistake and that I'm going to hate it or... or.. or... it's just my imagination running wild. I'll be fine, I always am.

On the flip side of that, it's soooooooo good to be with family. It's almost like I never left. I've been hanging out with my sister (one of them, anyway) and my stepmom and loving it. My dad will be back tonight or tomorrow (yea!). D, my youngest sister on my dad's side, is getting ready to go off to college. She came home from her freshman orientation wearing a Baylor t-shirt, Baylor pants and with a Baylor sticker on the back of her car. Gee, ya think she's excited about going to school? She's even talking about pledging a sorority (something I never thought I'd see her do). Our other sister, the Duchess of Sconce (don't ask), is coming over from Dallas tomorrow. I can't wait. When the three of us get together, it's like there's no age difference between us at all. That either means that I can still act like a teenager, or that they have matured into 35 year olds. I prefer to think that they have matured rather than that I have regressed so far into my youth that I'm truly deluding myself. We're all so much alike in so many ways, it's a little frightening. We definitely have our differences too, but geez it's like someone took one personality with some strange quirks and split it 3 ways. We have the same dumb little happy dances, same facial expressions, say the same things at the same time... it's kinda creepy sometimes.

I saw my grandfather yesterday, and suprisingly, he was in a pretty good mood. He can be a bit of a crumudgeon, to put it mildly, and he hasn't always been so nice to me. But as I get older, I'm learning to ignore the mean grumblings of a tired, sick, old man, and look for the things that make him remember the good things in his life. I keep him away from U.S. and family politics (always sore spots) and get him talking about his youth, and his time in the Navy, my grandmother... anything to avoid discussing family and politics (or family politics). Those are two areas where we don't agree - never have, never will, and I've just chocked them up to lost causes. Pick your battles - those are two that I can't win, so why fight them? Now, we manage to have a pretty good time together, and I like to see him smile. It's nice to finally make some peace there.

I've still got aunts and uncles to see, a stepsister, and a few friends that remain in the area, so I think I can manage to keep myself busy. I'm off to Houston on Monday to see my mom and the rest of my siblings. Woohoo!! I'll spend the 4th of July floating down the Guadalupe with on eof my dearest friends (we've known each other since we were 8), then back to FW to finish up packing for India.

Preparations for the trip are well underway. I got 3 more injections yesterday (for a grand total of 7 - OUCH), had a doctor's appointment, got all my blood work done. Oh boy - another needle. I feel like a damn pin cushion. I've signed my contract and sent it back, and visa paperwork is in hand for a visit to the consulate in Houston next week. Another new adventure, another new place. It's going to be amazing. When I'm sitting in bed wide awake at 4 am, I just start looking at my India travel books and I get all excited all over again.

It's no wonder I can't sleep. Maybe it's not jetlag at all. Maybe its just my head trying to wrap itself around all of this - there's a lot going on in my world right now. Instead of overthinking everything for once, maybe I should just kick back and enjoy the ride.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Done and dusted... well, almost

I am in packing HELL. I've been working on this for three days now - cleaning out, packing up, sorting, throwing away things that were so important two months ago, but I can't be bothered to pack them up and haul them back across the planet now... It is truly incredible how much s**t one person can accumulate in two years. It's kind of cathartic to purge yourself of all of your worldly goods. I'm having a party/fire-sale tonight so my dear friends can come raid my creature-comforts for their own homes. That and I had inherited a full bar, and we don't want to see that go to waste.

I guess at this point I should back up and say that after two years, I am leaving Kosovo. I'll be in Texas for 3 weeks or so, then it's off to Bangalore, India to be a Language Specialist at Microsoft. I'll be teaching culture and pronunciation to software engineers - now there's something new and different!! I'm running through a whole range of emotions right now - all the goodbyes and all the relationships and habits and comforts and inconveniences and so many other things all swirling around my head.... As I've said before, I didn't just make friends here, I've made family, and the only way I've kept myself from having a mental breakdown in the past week is by keeping myself incredibly busy. I've got so much to do I can hardly see straight. I've finished up with work, I've shipped stuff home, and now all that's left is to pack up my suitcases (god help me, that is going to be a disaster) and clean out my apartment. This time Tuesday, I'll be stepping off a plane in the Vienna airport heading home. Wow.