coming home

It goes like this: one moment you're sitting in a hotel room in Belgium, eating croissants in bed as warm sunlight slowly spreads through the city, and the next moment you're walking into your house for the first time in two months and it's sad and wonderful at the same time. It's a curious thing, coming home. When you're away so long, you forget what being home feels like and it's a good feeling to reacquaint yourself with. You find yourself noticing the little things that you don't normally notice, like the way the colors blend together in the bathroom in the pale early morning light and the novelty of having a room to yourself again. Then the next day rolls around and you find yourself scribbling todo lists on the back of college admission letters and unpacking and it all feels so...right. And I think at that moment, when you're at home again doing blissfully simple tasks and missing adventure but enjoying yourself inspite of it all, that's when you're truly home.

And to close, a little video action from our trip, from the beach to the ranch to bicycling and everything in between...

music by jack johnson // do you remember

oma and opa's house

I don't have the greatest memory. There are random insignificant bits and pieces that I can remember from over the years, like sitting in my mom's darkened bedroom early in the morning, tying my shoes (they were white with baby blue stripes) before another day of kindergarten or the way my dad made macaroni and cheese for lunch and we ate it, hot and steaming, at the kitchen table while listening to a show on the radio. But I couldn't tell you what my earliest memory was or recall the time when (according to family legend) I cried in terror when I saw Mickey Mouse for the first time at Disneyland...or remember the first time I stepped into my grandparent's house. Like so many other things in my life, Oma and Opa's house has always just been there. No matter what goes on in my day-to-day life, whenever I think about Oma and Opa's house and feel instantly at peace. Sometimes, instead of counting sheep when I can't fall into slumber, I walk through their house in my mind and feel the tension slip out of my mind.

We leave to go back to the States tomorrow and I'm scared I'm going to forget. I'm terrified I won't remember exactly the way the floors creak or the sound of the grandfather clock always ticking faithfully or the feel of the place, the one thing that can't be captured. It doesn't matter it might not be decorated according to what's in style for home these days--family pictures adorn the walls like the finest pieces in the Lourve and that's worth more than any room that can be bought from the pages of an Anthropologie magazine. It's not just a house, it's a proper home, the kind that you look forward to returning to on a cold rainy night, made warm not just by a fire but by the glow of family. I don't have just one home, but two--I am torn between these two houses, one in Oklahoma, one here in Germany, that have lovingly nurtured and cared and supported families for longer than I can remember.

Yes, tomorrow I will be sad to leave, and when I hear a song I listened to these past few weeks I will probably cry for missing it all, but remembering everything only means so much, doesn't it? It's okay if I can't remember the first time I walked into my grandparent's house--now I am older and I will always treasure the last time I was in the house and anticipate the next time I get to step over the threshold. I may not have the best of memories, but this is one place I will never, ever forget. And no matter what happens, the rambling house on Eichendorffstraße 6 will be Oma and Opa's house, forever and ever amen.

let's go to the beach

Sand in (between) my toes, wind in my hair, sun in my eyes, and salt on my tongue--beach life is pretty spectacular. Even better than being at the beach, though, is getting to be at it for an entire week with the whole family, including my two older sisters. We were tucked away on Sylt, a little island in the north sea off the coast of Germany, with no internet and only each other's company for entertainment. It was just what I needed, and was worth missing that one train and the sprained ankle and the sore muscles and all that stuff that life throws at you. I slept in the cutest room you ever did see with my older sisters, sandwiched on a cot right between them, and I couldn't think of anything better. It's always such a treat to spend time with them after having to be apart from them for so dang long all the time. There were fierce games of scrabble, late nights spent talking, days where the only plan was to go to the beach, night walks along the shore, and memories made every time you turned around.

And then there was the ocean. I hadn't been to a proper one since 2004--how does this land-locked Oklahoma girl go about describing the ocean? One of my favorite things about it is the unpredictability. I thrive off of the days where the clouds hang low, mingling with the big crashing waves, and the next day, where the horizon is sharper than a knife and the sky as clear as could be. It's exhilarating to walk along the shore in the spray of salt, feeling the wind tangling your hair and not caring, and getting soaked by a wave that strayed out of its proper place. I liked standing where the waves break and feeling the currents suck at my sandy feet, the water always tirelessly surging forward to greet the sand no matter how often it gets pushed back. There's a lonely, yet comforting beauty in the way the waters never cease to rest, no matter who does or doesn't look on.

We got back to my grandparent's house late last night and we sat in the living room eating cold pizza and swapping stories and I don't ever want to leave this place. Why is it that I miss everything but home?

In time, I may share more about our trip, but right now, most of the memories are still too fresh and close to my heart to properly display. For now, here are a few of the hundreds of frames I took...enjoy.