Coming home to the USA made me every bit as happy as I thought it would. No more trying to decode foreign menus or communicate with shop workers using nothing but hand pointing. No more uncertainty about how I would make it from Point A to Point B or where my next meal would come from. For once, I was in a land where everything already made sense for me, and after two months of traveling I no longer had a need for serendipitous adventure.
Not much had changed at home since I left. I thankfully had missed much of a brutal East Coast summer in milder climates. Top story in the news before I left was the BP oil disaster, and sadly that was still the case two months later.
New developments were minor. My mother had acquired some sheep for her farm, so now I could wake up to see furry animals munching on grass. My brother was at French camp. One sister needed surgery on her shoulder and the other was pulling long hours at two summer jobs.
Understandably, my mail pile was massive. Thankfully my mother had opened up anything that looked important while I was away. My first two days were spent tediously making sure I had paid bills and otherwise had my life back in order.
I made my return to DC on Friday. After a doctor’s appointment confirming a clean bill of health (travel raised my cholesterol but lowered my weight), I met up with a couple former coworkers for lunch at our old favorite pizza joint. Afterwards I poked my head into my old company’s new headquarters, and hadn’t expected to spend two hours working my way around to talk. People were curious about my adventures and a surprising number had followed my blog. I received two comments from almost everyone in the office: “You look very tan” and “You look very healthy”.
In the evening I sat myself down at my favorite bar in DC, Local 16 on U Street. The unruly heat prevented me from enjoying the roofdeck, but I was able to meet up with other old friends from the air-conditioned comfort of the lower levels.
In my mind I reflected on how little I had taken in DC ask your typical tourist. Granted, over 6 years I had taken in almost everything imaginable, from the White House and Capital tours to climbing the Washington Monument to gazing at the planes at the Air & Space Museum to running through Rock Creek Park to bar-hopping in crazed Adams Morgan. But in my camera I had taken very few photos of a very photo-worthy city. Here’s one of what is today the Obama residence, from the archives.
Onwards to Charlottesville, Virginia, home of Thomas Jefferson!