about going far away and then coming back all changed.
Kate Douglas Wiggin, New Chronicles of Rebecca
The road-weary travelers have returned. We actually pulled into our driveway as Saturday was turning into Sunday, but I wasn't in the head space to write a post. It wasn't that I didn't have anything to say. Quite the opposite. I simply did not know where to start.
The trip began with an overwhelming need to get away. From life. From school. From a grad school application to-do list that had me in knots. For the first couple weeks I remember thinking, Please don't let this go by too fast. I'm not ready to go back to reality. Pretty please. Then, as I let go and turned myself over to the now, I started to feel more at peace with the looming transitions. With what I need to do to stand out to potential schools. I even found myself feeling okay about the prospect of not getting in on the first try. I also found that the desperation to move on evolved into a calm excitement over the prospect of turning a page in our book.
We started out in Montana. We experienced life on the ranch and bonded with Mario's family. I made the two hour drive to see my sister and her kids. It was an emotional visit that profoundly affected me. I was rattled by my uncharacteristic response, but sometimes old feelings are not buried quite as deep as I like to think. She is going through some big life changes of her own, and I hope it is the fresh start she needs and wants so desperately.
I was able to reconnect with my sister-in-law, someone I am incredibly fond of. We took a mini road trip down to Pocatello, Idaho to check out a potential grad school. It wasn't the town for us, but being with her and our niece meant everything. I felt intense pressure and guilt over eliminating a possible program, especially one so close to family, but after moving around over the last 9 years, we are ready to find a place we can call home for the foreseeable future. Pocatello simply wasn't it.
The third week saw us on a road trip to the Pacific Northwest. My family lived there for several years when I was a child and I have nothing but fond memories of the area. We dropped Kiddo off at the same summer camp I attended in 5th grade and set about an adventure. We wandered through the area somewhat aimlessly, which was hard for Mario at first being a planner and all, but it made the trip so much more rich for the two of us. I was thrilled to see that he loved the area as much as I do.
We spent a couple days in the Portland, Oregon area with some lovely and dear friends. We stayed at their beautiful home in Vancouver, Washington and had the pleasure of getting a private tour of the area. It was true love. We looked at houses, walked all through downtown Portland, and really got a feel for the region's vibe. Portland/Vancouver quickly elevated to number one on our list of potential places to dwell next.
The final week was spent at my in-laws lake house in northwest Montana. Unfortunately I caught a stomach bug and Kiddo ended up with a sinus infection and bronchitis, which required a visit to an urgent care clinic and some hefty antibiotics. It didn't deter from our fun for long, and we soaked up what was left of our vacation.
As week four drew to a close and our departure neared, we felt ready. Ready to return to "real life". To our to-do lists and obligations. The fear about putting our house on the market this month lessened. If we are so lucky as to have it sell quickly, we will rent. And perhaps save money and time commuting in the process. It's all part of the journey. I have been job hunting and planning for the next month or so. I need to shadow a professional, take the GREs (think the SATs for college grads), enroll in a CPR class for medical professionals... not to mention starting the application process and all that entails. Having my dreams realized will be worth all the fretting. I've got this.
I have talked a lot over the past year about my evolution as a blogger. How much having this little corner of the internet has changed me. Enriched my life. I thought about blogging every single day over the last month, although getting fingers to keyboard was tough. Last week I looked at Mario and said "I have a million pictures I want to share! When can I possibly find the time to edit and write and post all about this perspective-changing trip?!" To which he replied: "You have enough material for 50 posts. That's a great place to be. Write about it over the coming month." He's right... and that is exactly what I'll do. I love that dude.