I woke a little while ago with a knot in my stomach. All of the goodbye parties are over, my room is packed into boxes (again), and there is a small pile in the corner of my belongings that will accompany me on this adventure.
I leave tomorrow morning for New York where I will spend a few days with my sister, helping her to pack up and say her goodbyes, too. I'm looking forward to seeing a couple dear friends while I'm there. And then... Four days from now I will be sitting on a plane bound for Spain! This is still sort of boggling my mind.
To be honest, all of the emotions I am currently experiencing are ones of anxiety and sadness. None of what is to come seems real, nor can I fathom how it's actually going to be in reality. So I think the only emotions I can focus on are those that are very real for me right now. It's so hard to say goodbye to the ones I love - even though I know it's not forever. Leaving home, parting with with the familiarities and comforts of it all is scary! It's especially hard to walk away when my life here is so beautiful and fulfilling. Nevertheless, I know that once I am standing in the city center of Madrid, or strolling through the orchards in Amélies-les-Bains, or gazing up at the Alps in all of their glory - I will feel nothing but excitement, amazement and a complete happiness to be where I am, and to be doing what I am doing. I just have to get there - but at the same time, I want to be present and grounded in the feelings I have today, with my family and my friends. I am going to savor each minute that I have left in this grey, drizzly, lovely city.
A few side-notes...
I've been taking time to work on a new look for Marmunia. I was feeling bored with it again. Trying to stick to the same feel and look as before, but soften it up a little bit and at the same time, give it more of a presence. You'll notice that I now have ads on the right! Also, I am working on redirecting it to marmunia.com - but I'm having some trouble. It should be really simple, but for whatever reason I'm having hard time.
I got an iPod touch, which I'm quickly learning is essentially an iPhone as long as I have wifi. I have an app so that I can text and make free phone calls to all of my pals back home - and I have instagram now (alysonsharon - follow me!) which I am pretty excited about. I plan to use it constantly throughout my travels. I think that will be a fun way to, in a sense, bring everyone with me.
Time to get this day started! I have lots of errands to run, things to do and people to see...
Here comes the beginning of the beginning!!!
Once upon a time
I realized I forgot something
While I was traveling around the world
so many things happened
and I forgot
my precious thing
never too heavy
but full of solemn presence
When plenty of sunlight showers down
it brims with glowing warmth
It may be found anywhere
but not just anywhere
I search for it desperately
and I get hungry too
Days go by over and over
Someone beside me
"What are you laughing at?!"
I know I shouldn't be, but I feel a bit annoyed
After a while
I feel silly and jolly
For reasons unknown giggles and chuckles start to spread
it's better not to search for reasons
and just feel this very moment
Here I am
No matter who or how many people surround me
I dwell in my own solitude
I even scream
I drown in silence
After all the sighs...
I can breathe deeply now
I truly remember
that the sky is blue
To look at the world outside
is just like listening to the world within yourself
but it's also very easy
to lose my track
Where am I
A step that I just took
leads to thousands of footprints
Whether I step back
or stand still
I embrace the truth
that my journey
will continue for eternity
Once in a while I feel like giving up
but when I start walking once again
thinking about various encounters that await me
"thump, thump" the sound of my march
turns into the beating of my heart
What's this tremble that I've never felt before?!
I place my right hand silently
there it was
the brooch of mine
This road continues far beyond
Rather than counting all the missing pieces
remember the jubilant now
I ornament my heart with this little prayer of mine
A touching gift from Ashley. In a card she expressed that this book reminded her so much of me and the story of my life shared through this blog. When I read it I was near tears! I can connect every element of this book back to a point in my life, especially over the past five years. I am going to remember this during my journeys; when I find myself feeling scared or even glad it will be a point of inspiration for me.
Thank you again, Ashley. I will never forget everything you've given me this week!
A small group of my dearest friends gathered last night for a very special European style dinner. Ashley put it all together for me (such a sweet and generous friend!) with so much thoughtfulness in every detail - from the menu to the table setting and pretty pink flowers in the center. Each course was focused on one of the countries I will be visiting. There were cured meats from Spain, delicious stinky cheeses from France, wines from all over (one that was actually hand selected from Madrid and carried home from Spain with Jarred), a Czech style borscht soup, Ashley & Mile's homemade sour kraut (deee-licious), weißwürst and brockwürst, homemade frites with curried ketchup, and perhaps most importantly, Geraldine's unbelievably tasty Dutch candied waffles. I can't even tell you how many of those I ate!
Ashley's home is so beautiful and warm, I couldn't imagine a more perfect environment for an evening spent with the ones I love so much. All of it was incredible, I felt like it was my birthday again. I have the best friends in the world.
I AM GOING TO MISS ALL YOU BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE LIKE CRAZY.
Every now and then I stop and feel a little sad, not about leaving home or friends or family necessarily. Of course I will miss all of these things, but I won't be gone that long after all. I feel sad mostly because I am leaving Gramma behind, to be all alone again. She has lived alone for years and she was just fine without me - she's a strong, independent woman, but I think we've both grown a bit attached to one another, more so than ever before. I will miss eating oatmeal with her every morning. I will miss her sweet voice on the other end of the line when she calls to check on me when I've stepped out, wondering where I am, what I am doing, when I will be home. I will miss watching the same Downton Abbey episodes over and over again (she and I saw season two long before the rest of the United States did - thanks Valerie!), and her questions and comments on every scandal. I will miss my bedroom, tastefully covered in florals, lace and crystal. She is so sweet and lovely in every way. These past few months spent with her have been so special. I am so grateful for this time we've had together as roommates. It has deepened our relationship and made us even better friends.
I'm sure you can imagine the state of mind I've been in lately. Half of my brain is constantly going a little bit crazy, and the other half is trying to remain calm, take each day at a time and soak up the moments I have left at home before I go. I have been absent here partially for that reason, but I first disappeared last week because I became very ill with a nasty virus, one which I will spare you the gruesome details of. I was in bed for four days and didn't leave home for five. After that spell, I have been struggling to tie up loose ends, pack away all of the belongings I brought with me to Gramma's, and get everything in order for my trip.
The next seven days will be full of errand running, packing, seeing those I love and will miss while I'm away and probably several moments of excitement/panic. It seems that every day I am running through an endless list in my mind; I still need socks, toothpaste, and travelers insurance (any suggestions on this would be very helpful!), etc. These are all things (except for insurance) that I can easily find once I arrive in Europe - but I am organized, and maybe I am a little bit controlling at times. So what? I simply like to have everything settled before I enter into the unknown. So, please bear with me over this next week. I may be far away in thought and very distracted, but I will try to make sure I check in here to document this last week at home.
1. Gramma's rhodies - Papa Cal had a very green thumb and photographed his garden when he felt particularly proud.
2. Gramma posing with the poppies and pansies.
3. Gramma with her brother.
4. Gramma hanging out with her pup in the yard.
5. Gramma with her mother, and pregnant with my mother. She was and still is always dressed so darling! She has such great taste.