Friday, October 23, 2009

Bittersweet return

Well, I'm home.  I still have lots to share -- stories and pics -- since I had limited internet in Italy, and will organize my pics and thoughts over the next few days, and upload.  Hope you stay tuned! 

Coming home was mostly good.   I welcomed my own bed, where I am sitting now, at 5:42 a.m.  I woke up like an hour ago, which would be 10:30 Europe time, ready to go -- my internal clock and daily expectation of adventure pushing me out of bed.  Alas, no city to explore.  No new "Pink Lady" or "Montorosso" to find.  But I DO have a full pot of real, American coffee brewing, and a couple of books on North American adventures, which I will look through later and maybe choose a more local adventure soon.

I am VERY eager to see the kids, and wish they were up now.  I really wanted to go see them last night, but after the day's greatest hits, including "Venetian Hell", "The Luggage Lug", and everyone's favorite: "Eight Hours On A Plane Next To An Iranian With B.O." I was just ready for my comfy warm, dry, quiet, clean, private bed -- no shared bath.  (Although my experience has taught me that hostels are a great way to travel, and it's a shame we don't have them here.)

It was a bit strange driving up to my little house which sat here for the past few weeks, in its same spot in little Greensboro, quiet, and abandoned, waiting for me, while I was on the other side of the world, exploring others' little houses and daily lives. It almost made the entire trip unreal.  Like a dream.  One minute I am surrounded by unknown places, practices, people, languages, and foods, with every turned corner a new sight, and the next minute back to my world where everything is familiar and it is difficult to find something new.  If I could, I would probably travel about 8 months out of the year.  I'm sad it's over...for now.

All in all, this has been a wonderful journey, that I am very glad I took now.  I didn't wait until I could afford it, or it was a slow time at work (no shit there, eh Carol?), or I had the vacation time built up, or my house was paid, or the kids were in college, or things were in order, or whatever excuses we make to put off doing the things we really want to do.  Who knows if I would have ever had got to go, had I not just dropped everything and done it.  Next week I start chemo, which will last about 6 months, then I have another surgery to undergo, and after that, nobody knows.  I may be feeling too crappy to go anywhere.  I may not be around at all.  I may disappear for another few weeks to collect more stamps in my passport.  Regardless of the unknown future, I'll always have Europe!

I consider cancer "the gift of insight."  I have the insight to know that I may die sooner than I thought.  I may not be around in 5 years.  The reality is, we ALL will probably die sooner than we thought.  We all will die and for many of us that may be preceeded by time when we are too sick to do anything we want to do.  And all of us truly could go at any time.  Whenever our end comes, it usually comes suddenly, and always permanently.  Why is it that we don't get this?  In the history of people, there is yet to be one whose life has not ended.  Yet we still don't grasp that all we have is now.

Do things now.  Go places now.  Make amends, tell people you love them, splurge on yourself!   It saddens me to think of any of the people I care about not getting to do things they wanted to do, because they put it off for "someday."  This IS your life... You are there, in it.  This is not a dress rehersal.  It's started and heading toward the end.  What are you waiting for?  Go dance in the fountains in Paris.  It's cold and wet, and wonderful!!!!!

I love you all.


  1. I'm so glad that you had this wonderful adventure and I look forward to more pictures and to hearing lots more about your European encounters. Thanks for sharing so much with us. I have missed you.

  2. Are you simply profound...or profound in your simplicity....I am awed and at the same time know exactly how you feel. I have always said if ny life were to end today... Would I wish I'd done this or that or only wish I'd had more time. So I'm gonna hop on my harley and ride in honor of us and those who truly know how to dance!



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