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HOME is a feeling, not a place.

Summer is coming! 

Well, actually…winter is coming to South Africa, but I don’t really plan on being here to see it.  Besides, autumn still feels like summer since it’s been a consistent 30º C (86º F) for like 6 months straight (see today’s Instagram post). I’ve not worn shorts this much in my entire life, and I’m in dire need of hitting a GAP or J.Crew to spice up the summer wardrobe ASAP.

I digress.

I am in the midst of summer vacation planning. Remarkably, I’ve already got quite a bit booked…and I’m scared how quickly my time back in the good ol’ US of A is filling up. This summer we will only be in the US for 8 weeks. I realize this sounds like a long ass time for some of you, but we return to our own house…so I’m not living in my parent’s basement. It makes me so sad since we’ve decided not to travel back for Christmas this year…it’s just too far of a trip.

You see, living in Johannesburg causes a bit of a travel nightmare. I mean it takes like 25 hours door to door, which basically messes up 4 days because you are traveling over two days to the US and another 2 days back to South Africa. Plus, there’s that sneaky bitch waiting in the wings…JET LAG. I seriously fucking hate jet lag. The whole loosing a day whilst traveling when returning to South Africa creates a real mindscrew on your internal clock. My children turn into club kids at a rave who won’t go to sleep until 5AM, and then sleep till noon and wake up with a major hangover. Did I mention I hate jet lag? So, we’re returning 4 days before school starts in hopes I can overthrow the club kid zombies into waking up at 6AM to catch the bus for school.

At any rate, I’m really trying to keep this summer low key. Other than the fact that I’ve already booked my kiddos into two separate week long sleep away camps that I planned back in December (mommy vacation), and a couple side trips planned here and there to visit family and friends…we have plenty of time for golf, beach, pool and Target (I cannot wait to grab a Starbucks (the only one in our town) and peruse the aisles in pure mommy bliss).

And, speaking of shopping…I’m already preparing for my Amazon Prime membership to pay for itself with all my stocking up of random items…you never can have to many of your favorite brand of tampons or packets of Lipton’s french onion soup mix. I’ve already got a shopping list started, and am pretty sure I haven’t even scratched the surface of all the things I NEED to bring back with me. As much as I love to shop (and believe me, I’m really good at it), I don’t want to be wasting my precious time with the tedious task of last minute shopping…I’m too Type A for that kind of crap, and I’m going to try to minimize my cray-cray with some upfront online binge shopping.

But, the things I’m most looking forward to doing include rooting on my nephew’s at their baseball games, eating coney island hotdogs, long and lazy days at Lake Michigan with my feet in the sand, and riding my bike across town for dinner and drinks with friends. It’s the simple things in life that I miss the most about home…The faces and places I don’t get to see often enough will be on overdrive during my short return to my happy place.

These 8 weeks will be time for me to recharge my expat battery pack. It kind of sounds a bit cheesy when I say it out loud, but going home to Michigan is when I reenergize my mind, body and soul, so I can return to my home in South Africa and continue to kick some ass. Do you see how both places are now my home?

The word “home” is so dynamic. It has so many definitions. I don’t know if I will ever truly feel “at home” any where on the planet ever again…I’ve left too much of my heart around the world, and the memories I’ve shared with the people in those places are scattered over almost every continent. Here’s my theory…HOME is a feeling, not a place. The feeling of home allows me to smile at a memory or a familiar scent. Those are the small energy bursts I get from my sense of home. It what makes me remember how I’ve gotten this far, and helps me realize things are only getting started again. 

One thing I’ve learned while living abroad is how to quench my thirst for home by recreating the feeling of it within myself. For me, home is where my family comes through the front door after a long day, it’s where my dogs snuggle up to me on the couch, and it is the fullness of my heart every single day. Longing for home means there’s something pulling you back to where you are at ease and comfortable…It can also be the road less travelled and an opportunity to open yourself up to the unknown. 

It’s finding how you can feel at home in two places at the same time. 🙂

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