Interestingly, I started this blog series with a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, and I add this 3rd part today, posted on the date best remembered as a ‘day that will go down in infamy’ as noted by her husband, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. (it also happens to be my niece’s birthday: HBJRS)
I will admit, I have not missed traffic on the Schuylkill expressway or the Blue Route, or those well timed red lights I always happen to catch when I need to make a left turn on my evening commute home. But I have certainly missed the seasons, the changing of the leaves, the Autumn colors and that coolness (and freshness) of the air, (remember, everyday is Groundhog Day in Kisumu).
I have missed my bicycle, and being able to go for a 15-25 mile ride after work or on any weekend morning.
I have missed those 5-6 mile runs with Christine where she always keeps me a few strides behind her – ‘she never lets me win’. I have really missed really good beer, really;
and I have missed pumpkin ale season, but know I am coming home for the holiday brews (and hopefully Larry has put away a sampling or two for me for safe keeping). I have also missed really good bread, dark breads, crusty breads, my own whole wheat pecan oatmeal bread. I have missed really good cheese, any food spiced with blackened seasoning, I have missed anything and everything cooked on the grill, especially wild caught salmon, buffalo burgers, Christine’s peppered filet mignon, marinated chicken, seasoned veggies. Come to think of it, I have missed anything and everything Christine cooks and bakes—her shortbread helped me through some serious times in Kisumu.
I have missed the simple convenience of being able to contact friends and family within the same time zone. (The window for Skype calls was limited to early mornings or very late evenings and one of us was always waking up while the other was just about ready to nod off.) I have missed my two grandchildren, Miss Madeleine and Mr. Jack Attack, their almost endless excitable energy and their heart melting smiles, their hugs, and mostly, just hearing “Poppop!!”.
I have missed my own ‘children’ and any form of QFT with Sean and Aimee, Leah and Joe (and Penn State football of course, and maybe I will get to see PSU in a bowl game this year?), and taking those naps in ‘locking position’.
And most of all, I have truly and very deeply missed my wife Christine. She had been there from the start, and will be there for my arrival in PHL on 16th Dec (or so she tells me). She has been my inner strength, my source of motivation, inspiration, and emotional energy and support.
It has been difficult being 7274 miles and 8 time zones apart, much more difficult than I was prepared for. I have shed quite a number of tears whenever we would end our Skype calls, not being able to reach out to hold her hand or offer some comfort to her during her difficult and challenging times, and not being able to have those quiet and personal dinner conversations over guacamole, slices of Manchego and/or Jarlsberg, a nice glass of Malbec or Cab Sav., or that spontaneous “Let’s go to Harvest or Iron Abbey”, our Netflix Friday evenings. I have missed her friendship, our time in the kitchen working two crock pots, a pot of soup, and then a batch of her incredibly delectable cookies (no coconut plz), all on a Sunday morning.
But mostly, I have missed her friendship and her companionship. It has been time together that we will never get back, but as she has told me, this has been an experience that we both recognized as a time to ‘take it now’ because it is one that may never come back this way ever again. Carpe diem.
Tomorrow: “what I can look forward to and what I have been most grateful for”