Last night, I finalized our travel plans for the trip back to the East Coast. Originally, I was going to stay for 2-3 months. Now, I am staying for 3 weeks. There are a lot of reasons, not all of them are interesting, but one of the biggest reasons I am *not* staying as long is my relationships here - not just personal relationships, but yes those were a sizable consideration. Here are my girlfriends at bitch-n-brunch last weekend.
Doesn't that look like fun ? Oh we had a ball, but I didn't shorten my trip just to make sure I was around for brunch with the girls - we also value our working relationships, and commitments to the community. Here is just a partial list of the reasons why a shorter trip is better for us:
We are licensed foster parents, and I do not think it is appropriate to be gone for such a long time, when we may be needed here at a moment's notice. No, that isn't a halo over my head, it's just a fact. It is important to me to be here and available, especially for a child entering foster care during the holidays.
We are blessed with amazing friends, and we have relationships that we invest a lot of time and energy into - sharing meals and childcare, shopping and transportation - and if we just take off for 2 months those relationships will suffer from the neglect. I will miss our community terribly, even just for those few weeks.
We are employees, working for businesses both large and small - and we are lucky to enjoy our work, and to be good at what we do (though truth be told I "do" far less then Sami does in terms of employment.) Our employers count on us to show up and do our jobs - not to call in sick, or call in "surf", which is a real issue with Hawaii's workforce, especialy during a winter swell.
We are residents of Maui. Poor, poor us. Why would we ever want to go anywhere ????
And so, our trip is going to be shorter - which will once again require careful planning and tight schedules in order to get in the maximum amount of visiting and fun, and not waste a bunch of time driving all over the damn place. Why, oh why, do trips home always turn into such a stressful, expensive experience? I am learning how to set boundaries, and make plans, and keep it down to earth and simple. Stay in one place as much as possible is the first rule, and that is going to be out the window for week one, when we go from Seattle to Hartford to D.C. to NYC to Boston, never more then 2 nights in any one place. Even with my careful planning, there is still going to be far too much driving involved, but if we plan it right, it will be an adventure instead of a chore. That means finding fun places to stop along the way, from Washington D.C. straight up to Vermont. I have a long list of places I would like to get to, and I am discovering more every day. We'll be in NYC for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, in Boston for Black Friday, then Sami heads home and I keep going, back to mom's, up to Vermont for snow and friends and woodstoves and Green Mountain Coffee at every gas station, traveling roads familiar to me, and new to the kids. I spent years driving these roads: as a child with my parents and grandparents; with my high school boyfriend turned husband turned ex; by myself with just a pack of Camels to keep me company along the snowy highway; and then later with my love, our baby (first in my belly and later in his carseat) before we up and moved to Paradise - leaving long stretches of deserted highway behind us in the glow of our tailights.
So this will be a homecoming of sorts for me, and I am slowly contacting my friends in the soon-to-be-frozen north. I have many people - old friends and new friends, and family too - living in New England, and I look forward to seeing them, and letting my red-cheeked kids experience snow for the first time, maybe even get them up on a bunny slope somewhere just for fun.
6 hours ago