Well, well, well! I write this from the couch in my daddy's living room in Scotts Valley, CA. We had an uneventful travel day (always the best kind of travel day) on Thursday. Since arriving, we have enjoyed time with my dad and step-mom, my grandparents, my Auntie Maggie and Uncle Dave, my sister, my cousin Missy and her girls, and our BFFs, Stan and Noel. Sunday was a great church and family day. Yesterday we spent a few hours at the beach. I'm loving being home again.
Home. Or is it? Coming back to where I spent the first 26 years of my life has been different this time. As soon as we pulled out of the airport, I felt like I had never left. The highway over to my dad's house has not changed. The city of Scotts Valley is mostly unchanged. The road up to my dad's is the same. His property has lost a few oak trees, but is essentially the same. It wasn't until the next day that reality sunk in. We were headed over to San Jose to see my Granny and run some errands, and I totally drew a blank on how to get where we were going. Streets and stores I've known my whole life, missing from my memory. I was thinking of Walgreens and could not picture where any Walgreens locations were. All I could think of were the 2 Walgreens in our Arkansas town. It was the eeriest sensation.
In the past 3 years since we moved to Arkansas, life has continued to happen in my hometown. It's kind of like when a child sees his teacher in the grocery store on a Saturday and can't figure out why that teacher isn't at school. For whatever reason, I guess it never registered with me that a lot changes in a place in 3 years. Kids grow up. People pass away. Businesses close and are replaced by other businesses. Homes are remodeled. New roads are built. As we drove around on Friday, I realized just how much HAS changed here, and it threw me for a loop. I was not expecting the changes, and I was definitely not expecting to have lost a lot of my familiarity with this area. All day on Friday and Saturday, I was totally weirded out. I found myself homesick for this area--not for how it is now, but for the way it was when I left. Is it weird to be homesick for the place where you are? Yeah. I'm totally confused.
I also have done a lot of thinking about Arkansas. Our town in Arkansas is my home, my present, my reality. I have a great life there. I know where the stores are, the great restaurants, my friends' homes. I have learned the shortcuts, the back roads, a lot of the insider spots. I have established lots of nice friendships, and a few close friendships. My kids don't really know any other place. Arkansas is my home. California is not anymore.
I'm not sure how to feel about all this, so I'm focusing on everything that is ahead of us these next 4 weeks. Our schedule is filling remarkably fast, and I'm so excited for all the people we get to see and the great things we get to do. I love how bright the sky is, how much richer the colors are. I'm CRAZY about 75 degrees with low humidity in the middle of JANUARY! This is a great place to visit, and I'm going to enjoy it.
I'm feeling kind of weepy, probably because I'm tired. So I'm going to go ahead and sign off here. I have to post a couple of my favorite beach photos for you before I go, though.