Wednesday, October 3, 2012

By the end of November I was beginning to feel a little homesick.
I was craving some good ol' American-ness.
Thoughts of Thanksgiving filled my mind.
And Pinterest did not help the situation.

Instead of going back to America, I decided to visit Hungary to meet up with an old high school friend who was living in Brussels.
She and I were going to spend Thanksgiving at the residence of the United States Ambassador to Budapest.
We also planned to rent a small apartment in Vienna for a few days and ride the train to Bratislava.

Our Thanksgiving celebration was all I had dreamed it would be.
Turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes covered in marshmallows, pumpkin pie, apple pie, pecan pie.
Food comas, board games, Christmas tree decorating.

Staying at the residence definitely had its perks.
It was like having a small piece of America in Europe.

The entire trip was amazing in every way possible.
And I think it was a big turning point in the journey I had set off on 10 months prior.
Back in Greece, I had begun to feel lonely.
I found it hard sometimes to move around without a car.

In Budapest, I was able to speak and communicate with fluent English speakers.
I spent nights staying up late eating popcorn and drinking tea with my friend.
And I talked about Koko. A lot.

I explained to her how hard it had been to be apart
and how great it had been when he visited me
and how much I love[d] him.

And it was then, when I was explaining the love of my life to someone else
that I really realized how very much I missed him.
And how I didn't want to miss him anymore.
Even still, my choice to come back to California was not an easy one.
Realistically speaking, who wants to give up an extended vacation.
 The year had been the best year of my life, especially compared to the year before.

I kept making excuses.
I'd be back in September.
then October
then November.
then December.
Summer had come and gone.

Christmas was on its way and I kept picturing myself waking up on December 25th to a family-less, empty home.

The idea made me feel so lonely and sad.

I was talking to Koko daily.
Saying I would stick it out until after New Year's and see.
But the Christmas image haunted me.

On December 17th, I booked a ticket to SFO.
I packed and closed up the house.
Went out to my favorite bar/club one last time.
Said a tearful good-bye to my cousins and best friends.
 And on December 19th I set off on a return trip to SFO.

Nearly 21 hours later
Koko greeted me in San Francisco with cards and a flower
and together we drove home.

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