We arrived back to the States on December 22nd and experienced the whirlwind of Christmas and then my sister's wedding. It has only been in the past week that we have been able to really get settled and let the reality sink in that we are back. There are so many posts that I had wanted to write prior to leaving Croatia that I never had time to write. I haven't decided if I should go back and try to write them anyways. Does it lose something if it is not written in context?
When I try to think about what I have learned from our experience I find it very difficult to summarize. It ends up being a rambling of different thoughts and points taken from different parts and aspects of our experience. Maybe I will still try to make myself put something down.
A question that I often get is, how is it being back? It's great! We love the beach. It was nice being able to come back to a familiar place. As we were unpacking and organizing in the rental condo, we would find various things that we had left behind that we had forgotten about: Terrapin glasses, heating pad, black storage baskets, and other random pieces. We were able to bring a lot less stuff down with us then we did the first time we came. This was partly because Liam is not a baby any more and doesn't need a crib, but it is also because we really just don't own much of anything. The reality hit us that when we do decide to get our own place again we might have to sit and sleep on the floor for a while before we can afford to furnish the place! Who wants to be in our shoes now? Haha!
The grocery store has been overwhelming to both Bobby and I. After being here a week our refrigerator is still bare. We go in and get a couple of things and leave. I have not made any lists or meal plans for the week like I used to do before our trip. Bobby remarked tonight that "we need to get back in American-mode and get more than a days worth of food." The amount of choice for everything really is incredible.
We did buy a car. We are loving it. It did take me a day or so getting used to driving again. Bobby and I are both a lot more relaxed at the wheel. I used to be a lead foot, but now Bobby has to remind me to actually go the speed limit. The slowness of public transit has really helped us not be in a hurry when going places. The snowbirds are riding my tail instead of the other way around! ;)
As we were loading up a couple of groceries the other day, I asked Amelie if she liked having a car or if she liked walking home after our grocery runs. She said the car is much better. :) I, on the other hand, actually miss all the walking. I need to get a bike. I think that would help me.
Amelie has been pointing out the American flags seen flying around town. I think it is really cool that she notices different countries flags, but especially American flags. This is going to sound really corny, but I think she is proud to be an American. She told me that she is glad to be back because now we don't have to ask people if they speak English when we first start talking to them. I love how her mind works!
Amelie and Liam started preschool this week and have absolutely loved it. Both their teachers are wonderful. Amelie has talked non-stop about her friends. I'm excited for this opportunity for them to continue to learn and have a chance to be more social.
The nice thing is that not much has changed in the year that we have been away. Our snowbird friends are back and we are having fun fishing near them and catching up. The librarians are all familiar and do the same Storytime routine each Thursday. The condo has had a couple of upgrade improvements, but for the most part remained unchanged. The ghost shrimp are still the best bait to use and yield the best results as far as number of fish caught. The sand is still as white and clean as I remember it being.
We are thankful to be back! We would love to have some quality hang out time with our family and friends…who is coming down to visit us?! :)