Our first trip home since the big move held a mixture of emotions for all of us. We were all so excited to see our families again but were also missing our “girls” who stayed behind with some friends while we travelled. I think the hardest part for me was the fact that both of our dogs love our house back home as much as we do and would have been so happy to be back to see their friends and neighbors as well as lay in the cool grass of the front yard where they’ve both spent almost their entire lives. I’ll admit, I felt a little guilty.
Since we only had two weeks to visit what felt like everyone we’d ever known in our lives, we stayed on the move most days and, for every person we saw, there were three or four that we just missed seeing. We travelled to Radford/Christiansburg a couple of days to meet with friends of Matt’s and do some much-needed shopping, signed yet another contract on our house in Wytheville, and made several trips between both hometowns to make sure Grandparents got to see Kylie as well as to see every doctor and dentist we could see while in the US. Matt got to do some kayaking with his best childhood friend before heading back a week ahead of me and Kylie which was a great break for him. Of course, having his mom waiting with his favorite “chicken pie” was high on his list of favorite things too. I think our favorite activities while we were home though were dinner with good friends/family several nights, sitting on our deck (for some long-overdue mommy/daddy time) watching the sunset, Kylie’s belated birthday party at the community center and our trip to Tweetsie Railroad a few miles down the road in Blowing Rock, NC. Who knew two grownups could have so much fun riding a carousel??? I must be getting old though because the ferris wheel made me sick so Matt had to take one for the team and ride the Tweetsie Twister (or as we called it, the merry mixer) with Kylie. There was no way I was going to attempt that one. Getting old really stinks. The best, and most important part of the whole trip, was that we were able to really enjoy time with family since technically we were on vacation.
There’s something to be said about “going home”. There’s a feeling of security flooded with memories of good times (and struggles), the comfort of knowing what to expect from the people you see around town, and a reminder of what good customer service actually is (Thanks again Olive Garden!). There’s usually a friendly wave or nod of the head; a smile from a familiar face asking how things are going. While definitely far from the Hollywood “A” list, we sort of felt like celebrities in a way because of our move to the islands. People wanted to know what life was like and we could tell that there was some hope that things were different in St. Kitts somehow, brighter even. That maybe the struggles wouldn’t be the same as “back home”. We definitely enjoyed sharing our experiences with all of our friends and family but, in the end, had to admit that life is life, no matter where you live. There are still good days and bad days, sunshine and storms. Life goes on, whether you’re there or not.
No matter where our adventures take us, Virginia will always be home. Our little house on the hill will always be where we feel most like ourselves. Lush, fertile land. Cool mountain breezes. Friendly people. Free appetizers when your entree accidentally gets served TOO QUICKLY. That’s my Virginia and, as an old friend of mine (Frank Emerson) used to sing, “I love Virginia and I’ll be coming home.”