2008-11-08 - 10:15 a.m.

A year ago today I woke up in my strange new bedroom in Canton, Michigan having spent the night before that sleeping in my familiar bedroom in Puigmolto, Spain. A year ago yesterday I flew across the ocean with three of my cats and arrived a little dumbfounded and a lot relieved in Detroit. A year ago yesterday I punched in the key code to the lock box of the apartment I had rented via e-mails and phone calls from a distance of 5,000 miles or so. A year ago yesterday I was completely astounded that the key code actually worked and that the apartment was perfect. It would have been par for the course, if following the events of the prior five years, for me to arrive in Detroit and find that something had fallen through with the apartment and I would have homeless with three cats in tow and another three arriving the next day. But it all worked out just as it was supposed to and with that simple act of punching in a key code and having a key to a perfect apartment fall into my hands, I was freed suddenly from the pile of what ifs that had been building up in me for five years. It was the most relief I have ever felt in my entire life.

So, a year ago today I woke up after having slept a delicious, luxurious sleep. The walls weren’t crumbling around me, there were no peacocks screaming in the street, no sounds of construction, no anxiety about the next day. I woke up knowing that I had my beloved Morningstar Farms sausage patties in the freezer, English muffins in the fridge and Organic Love Buzz coffee ready to brew. I woke up knowing that Eric and my other three cats were en route and that in just a few hours we would all be happily stuffed into a space that was drastically smaller than the sprawling villa we had lived in for three years, but the space was much more comfortable. I woke up knowing that soon I would have a home where I could plant tulip bulbs and not have to think sadly that I might not be there to see them bloom next year. A year ago today I woke up and found snowflakes in the air and I felt euphoric and my own self seemed to slip back into my skin.

Do I miss living in Europe? You betcha. Do I miss the circumstances that we found ourselves living while we were there? No. It was those circumstances that ruined my European experience. It was those experiences that made me aware of how much “home” meant. You can be home and deal with a sick cat. When you are home and dealing with a sick cat you don’t have to worry about extra things such as, “what if they end Eric’s contract now and I have to fly Oscar across the ocean when he’s lost half his body weight and is just recovering from a serious illness?” When you are home you don’t have to panic so much about money or the lack of it. When you are home you can go out and get a job when needed. When you are home there is always hope and always possibility. Obviously there are what ifs at home to worry about too. What if Eric loses his job? What if I never find enough space to go to college? What if I never write again? What if Eric decides he can’t live in the States? But the what ifs, when you are home, are much more manageable. You are not so much at the mercy of anyone but yourself. If Eric loses his job he will find another one. That task would have been much less possible if we had been living in Spain.

Anyway, a year ago today I was happy and relieved and those feelings were so strong and indelible that I can sit here right now and feel exactly like I felt a year ago. I remember wondering to myself what I would be doing a year from then. And I am doing pretty much exactly what I imagined. I am still so happy and so relieved and I feel, for the first time in a long time, that my life is getting back into the tracks I should be on. Last year at this time I was holed up in a tiny apartment and was nothing but exuberant. This year I am holed up in my own house, looking out the window at my acre and a half expanse of yard and I am still ever so exuberant.

I am glad to be home.


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