Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Long Goodbye

When our family first arrived in Portugal in early August of 2007, I spent the first days and weeks living outside of reality. Reality couldn't possibly smell, look and taste so good! The smell of the sea, grilled fish, freshly baked bread. Sunny beaches, blue skies, palm trees, flowers in bright bloom. Long, peaceful, delicious dinners of grilled sardines (big ones that taste delicious drizzled with olive oil and white wine vinegar), steamed fresh, local vegetables, warm crusty bread, inexpensive local wine, and strong, dark coffee were spent by the sea.

As the months went by, Matt's long work hours and frequent TDY pulled me out of my dream-like state. But, my heart had been touched and every day that went by had me feeling more and more as if I had come home. I've learned of a different way of life, a life that I now love, and I will never be the same.


Now it's finally time to begin saying goodbye to this country that I love. This summer (late June/early July), DH, our two little girls (pictured here embracing the warm weather over the weekend in swimsuits and swimming caps) and myself will pack up and move to Fort Leavenworth, KS - our new home for one or two years.

A new kind of reality has set in - the reality of goodbye. Recently, I drove down the marginal, the sea and beaches to the right of me. I was overcome by the beauty and began to choke back the tears. I know military life well. I've said goodbye before and I know it isn't easy. In the past, it was hard to say goodbye to friends and while that will be hard this time too, saying goodbye to this place will be heart wrenching for me. Living here has not only been a great experience, it's has provided me with some of the happiest times of my life.

We will arrive in Kansas to familiar faces. We'll be closer to family and friends then we have been in over five years. We'll enter "normal" military life again (though, I'm not so sure how I feel about that now that I've been "away" from it for so long) and, eventually, I will embrace our new home, as I always do. Matt's fifteen hour (or more) work days and frequent TDY will be a thing of the past and we'll enter a time period in which the Army calls, "The best year of your life."

And, while I know that this move is a wonderful thing for our family, as it will bring us some much needed changes and opportunities, I am also quite certain that when I step on that plane this summer heading Stateside, I will begin the long goodbye to my heart - because I am quite certain it will take a long while for it to catch up to me in Kansas.

7 comments:

Deb said...

I can imagine leaving paradise will be challenging, but living within easy commute to family and friends will be good as well. I wish you the best in the next few months as you relish in the wonderful things offered you that you can't get anywhere else on this planet.

Jay and Amie said...

Who says Kansas isn't paradise?! :) Haha. You never know though - we are happy that you will be back in weekend-visit distance. I've missed you!

House Dad said...

There's no place like home.... There's no place like home....

;)

Grams said...

Remember as Dorothy said "There's No Place Like Home" just keep repeating it....Tap the shoes three times.....You'll be there soon...But enjoy Portugal while you can with family and friends that will be visiting.....

Katie said...

I want to cry. I know that most people have THAT place. The place where they should live. The place that speaks to them...and I hate it when we don't get to live there. I hate it that I'm not living in my PLACE. I hate it that yours is so far away. But, as Dr. Seuss said, "Don't cry because it is over. Smile because it happened." I have that quote in my kitchen and read it EVERY day.

Brenda said...

We will arrive as you are leaving...maybe we will live in your house on post?!?! I have friends here who liked Kansas b/c everything is so convienent. They lived on post for economical reasons...and their kids liked it b/c they had instant friend. Is Matt going to get his Masters there? That is what I want Chad to do...but, who knows. Suck the marrow out of Europe while you can! ;)

VermontMommy said...

We lived in paradise for a bit. It was...the best time of my life I try to remind myself that many people don't get to live such a life and yet we did even if it was for a very short time. We lived a dream which is amazing. I am thankful for that.


Honestly, it has taken me 5 years to get used to our new home. That is a long time. I hope you have an easier time adjusting.

Hugs to you.