The thing they don't tell you about traveling is how much and how intensely you'll miss, and also the kind of things you'll miss. The big things you've braced yourself for - birthdays and vacations and the like - but it's the little things that get you in the gut, the ones you didn't think to brace yourself for: taking a walk in a pretty garden on a Sunday afternoon, or watching the World Cup with your family in your grandparents' kitchen, or spending long lazy afternoons in the sunshine listening to bad pop music.
I keep thinking back to my last Sunday in Germany. That whole last weekend - something about it feels sacred. I knew I was leaving, and so did everyone else, and I tried not to think about it, and everyone else tried the same. My opa had his hip replaced a week before I left for Kenya, and Sunday was the first time since the surgery that he felt well enough to take in a bit of fresh air. The weather was the stuff of dreams: penetrating warmth in the sun, and lush coolness in the shade. And the gardens - the gardens were a thing to behold. Beds of lavender and sage scented sweetly the breeze and under a canopy of thick, knowing trees stood benches overlooking the gentle green. We walked along the paths and didn't talk about much of anything, but if we were to ask me what I miss most, that's what I'd tell you about.
Now, hear me out, I don't mean for this to sound like I'm unhappy. I'm not. I am truly glad I am here in Kenya, but this is a part of my life that I need to find words for, if only for myself.
I wish I could take you with me, show you what I'm talking about and let you experience it for yourself. I wish I could find the words to tell you how much it means to me. One of the greatest gifts my parents ever gave me was the gift of two homes; two countries I feel comfortable and at home in. And when I go back to my German home in sleepy Telgte, it's like my childhood all over again: thunderstorms in brightly blooming gardens, Steinbeck read on a golden-hued balcony, bicycle tires bumping over cobblestoned streets, kaffee und kuchen in a shady garden, bare feet dangling over the lake while drinking iced coffee with my older sister, entire days spent reading to the pitter of rain on the windows, warm strawberries from bush to mouth in approximately three seconds, dancing badly to good music, pigeons cooing from the steep rooftops.
Those are the simple things, and also the best things, and also how did I get so blessed?