Expat Life · Military Life

Back Home in Indiana

Last month we traveled to Indiana for my sister’s wedding. I always love October in Indiana, particularly when the weather is perfect, as it was. The sky is a brilliant blue, the leaves are just beginning to turn, the town is a bit festive for football season (usually, so sorry about your Boilers this year, folks). Getting to see family I haven’t seen since my own wedding was just icing on the (delicious, butterscotch-y wedding) cake.

Boys on Boat

This trip marked the 12th and 13th time our oldest has crossed the Atlantic. He has spent 6 days of his nearly-5 years of life making this trip. He is, of course, a pro. His little brother, less so. Thankfully, they were merciful in their jet lag recovery and took only a couple of days to get on track.

This trip was also the first time our luggage didn’t arrive for an entire week. I don’t recommend flying Air France. We weren’t prepared for the warm, sunny early days on the lake (or the crisp, cool later days at the farm) (or the wedding!) because our carefully packed suitcase was MIA for the duration of our stay. [And I STILL haven’t gotten a response from Air France in regard to my claim for reimbursement.]

Pontoon-Lake Shafer

Anyway. These family gatherings. There’s never enough time to properly catch up with everyone. Just niceties in the buffet line, stolen greetings while you’re shuttled to photos or chasing a kid. Having lived so far from home for the last 13 years, I feel like a stranger. We know bits and pieces of each other’s lives from Facebook, at least, but we don’t get a chance to get at the surprising things that connect us. The things you learn at birthday celebrations and barbecues, or with kids in the same soccer league or schools. The things in conversations that you have off-line, one-on-one, when you’re relaxed and somewhat focused.

Fishing Boy

Of course, I wonder what those connections might be. Do my cousins who lived in Asia understand how underwhelming a return to most American food is? How overwhelming it feels to shop at a super store like Wal-Mart? The disenchantment after a string of costly weekly Target visits that yield very little that you ย need?

Do my cousins who live among farms understand how special and cool it is for my guys to drive a tractor?

tractor driver

And for those who do the things I like to do, to write and take pictures, how is their work on that going? Why didn’t we find the time to talk about these things we share?

Toddler Splashing

So, the long and the short of it is that time is precious. And if you want to chat, let’s!

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2 thoughts on “Back Home in Indiana

  1. I very much agree that you feel disconnected from family when you go home. We don’t find out sometimes who is married and who is divorced. Pretty big subjects that no one thinks you’ll care to know? Or they just don’t think of us when telling the juicy family gossip? We do feel like outsiders sometimes for sure. My husband feels even more disconnected then I do. When we go “home” it just doesn’t feel like home and it’s only fun for a short visit, before we’d rather go back to our world. That world that only we military folk seem to understand!

  2. I very much agree that you feel disconnected from family when you go home. We don’t find out sometimes who is married and who is divorced. Pretty big subjects that no one thinks you’ll care to know? Or they just don’t think of us when telling the juicy family gossip? We do feel like outsiders sometimes for sure. My husband feels even more disconnected then I do. When we go “home” it just doesn’t feel like home and it’s only fun for a short visit, before we’d rather go back to our world. That world that only we military folk seem to understand!

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