When we returned from China last summer, I wrote a post about the sadness and relief I felt at the end of our trip titled, “Michigan Seems Like a Dream to Me Now.” That line from the Simon & Garfunkel song “America” was stuck on repeat in my head.
The song is about a restless drive that propels a young man to leave home and “look for America.” I don’t have that restlessness. I’m not looking for America. It was that we’d been gone so long in such a different place, that my memories of our life in Michigan did seem like they’d been converted into the fuzzy-edged, bright images of dreams.
A few months back I was looking at all the photos we took during our trip last summer in order to compile a photo book. Often I had to go to my China 2012 page to double-check when and where some of the photos were taken. I thought to myself, “Did we really do all of that?”
Yes, yes we did.
And here we are a year later about to embark on an even bigger adventure.
The preparation for this trip, with all the fixing, planning, and packing, has been exciting and frenetic. I feel like my wife and I have spent most of our summer doing things to prepare for the move. (She’s also written papers and submitted grant proposals; she doesn’t take summers “off.”)
We’ve also been saying goodbye to our friends, which is full of the wistful bittersweet. We have dinner. We talk about our upcoming trip. We talk about the kids. We eat well. We talk about life. We say goodbye. We won’t see them until next summer.
The other day I took the kids on a short hike at the Harris Nature center. There are numerous hiking trails that cross through so many parks in the Lansing area. Istanbul does not have enough park space for all of its citizens, so I wanted to be sure to take advantage of one more comfort of home one last time.
Our membership at the YMCA will expire on the 16th. This means my wife’s last yoga class was today. My last morning swim will take place tomorrow, Thursday, the 15th. I usually swim two mornings a week (sometimes three). There’s a regular crew of us early risers who are outside the doors just before 5:30am when the Y opens. (One of them, my friend Laura, writes a blog about Bicycle Commuting & Old Books. Check it out.) It will be strange not to see them before sunrise a few times a week. I’m going to miss them and the bleary-eyed camaraderie we have. (Though I won’t miss the body and highlighting the chlorine has given my hair.)
Will Turkey eventually seem like a dream? Or will it stick sharper because we will be there for so long? Or will the sun gleaming over the Bosphorus give our experiences a warm, hazy glow?
I can’t wait to find out.