Well, folks, I'm back in the States, and somewhat back in the appropriate time zone. I'm still waking up at 6:30 am and in a zombie-like state most of the day, but is that so unusual? =D I've enjoyed not having to jump out of bed upon waking to get in the shower, ready to go, and down to breakfast with 30 other people. Though I do miss the cappucinos every morning, the friends I made, and the sights & sounds of Italy, I'm quite content to have taken a respite from my world-traveling.
It's been wonderful to kick around in PJs until noon, wonderful to go to Starbucks with my little sis, wonderful to spend hours just talking to my mom, wonderful to have Anna bug me about whether or not I can identify her classical piano pieces, wonderful to go to church and get wrapped up in hugs and hear just how many people were praying for me!! Last night I spent 5 hours at "The Powell Estates" [aka Chris & Val, my best girlfriend's, house] making cheesy slideshows out of my pictures, making Val laugh by imitating both Guiseppe (our Rome tour guide) and Homestar, getting caught up on them and being so encouraged by all God's doing in/through them in and through our church. And Hannah's walking and talking and is way too big way too fast. I only left for 2 months, and she's all grown up on me now-- and doesn't remember "Aunt Christina." :( (by the end of the night she did come over and climb on my lap and let me hold her, though).
Most wonderful of all, though, was the hug that snatched me up at the Atlanta airport, was seeing the face I missed most all up & down the Italian peninsula: Ryan drove 7 hours to Atlanta from Louisville to pick me up, and then drove me the 2 hours to Greenville, and on Sunday, 7 hours back to Louisville. He told me he might be able to come get me last Sunday, and any concentration I might have had on Monday was a lost cause, lol. I was one happy girl when he called Monday night and said it was a go, AND I got a 6-page, handwritten letter from said studly individual...
I discovered a lot about myself on this trip...one was that the old never- homesick- Christina is gone forever. I enjoyed Italy, I really did!-- but I couldn't have stayed another week-- missing Ryan so hard just made it less than worth it. At least that's how it felt at the time. All through the 12 hour flight excitement kept me from being able to properly eat, and all of us awaiting greetings from significant others (most notably Will DuVal, Katie, Ivey & Johanna) were pretty much beaming from the moment we saw the sun rise over the Roman sky-- "today's the day!" Polly (Will's girlfriend) said her waiting at the airport felt "like the first date all over again." I think we all concur.
I said the separation seemed nearly unbearably hard by the end of the 7 weeks apart, but it seemed nothing more than a passing dream, when I found myself in his arms. "I can't believe you're here-- I can't believe you're not just a voice on the phone..." It really seemed like I never left, and when I told him so, he asked where the heck I'd been for the past 2 months then. "I haven't been gone 2 months! More like...a week." His retort made me laugh: "Then it was the longest week of my life!"
22 hours together after 7 weeks apart could seem quite less than ideal, but it was an unexpected treat, and I am NOT complaining! I will say that I am counting down the days (now two) 'til I get to be with him again, and trusting that once again, the wait won't seem "too long" when I'm back by his side.
I've got more pictures d'Italia to post, now that I have a reliable internet connection and abounding time in which to upload pics (free, high-speed internet must NOT be taken for granted!). And after Ryan & I get back from our trip to Oregon, I'll have more! I hear it's one of the most beautiful areas of the country, one I've never visited. So yippee!
Happy to be home, and so thankful I have a home in which to feel "at home,"
(pics, from top down: Roman sunrise as we rode to the airport, Me with Will DuVal, my plane-buddy both there & back, and the Alps from my window as we flew over Europe)