Last week was a little crazy around here, mainly because I booked a flight with only three days notice, farmed my children out to my wonderful, amazing friends, and flew to England to attend my best friend Karen's surprise 30th birthday party.
I wasn't planning on going, it was too expensive and too far away, but as the big day grew closer I kept lying awake at night thinking, I'm missing all the best parts of Karen's life. Her wedding. The birth of her little boy. Maybe I should just try to make this work. And in the end it did work, and off I went.
It has been five years since I last visited England, and as I walked through Heathrow airport I felt surprised to realize that I knew exactly where to go. Everything felt comfortable, and familiar, and as I passed clusters of bewildered travelers pouring over maps and scrutinizing signposts my heart warmed. It is a totally awesome feeling to know where you are going when everyone around you appears lost. I happily paused three times on my way to the Underground Tube station to help direct wide-eyed foreginers.
Sitting on a train headed for central London we suddenly surfaced from below the ground. I looked out the window at the city rushing past. All of the trees are blooming at this time of year, hanging heavy with pink and white blossoms. The conversations drifting through the train carriage included five different languages, none of them English. I hadn't eaten in hours and decided that as soon as I reached South Kensington I would duck into Pret a Manger and grab a sandwich (sharp cheddar and fig on a baguette) before heading to my dad's flat to shower. My eyes filled with tears. I felt overwhelmed by a coming-home feeling that I haven't felt in a long, long time.
My next few posts are going to be about my trip, however tedious that may be for those of you who don't care a lick about England. But I can't help but write about it. I want to keep the memories, impressions and feelings close, as if to line my drawers and my day dreams with them. In case it's five more years until I return. In case there are days ahead when I need to remember how it good it felt to go home.