A month from today we move out of our house. A month from today we will have lived in this house for exactly 3 years. A month from today we begin the next part of our journey in this Foreign Service life with some time in DC, some time at the beach, some time with family, and then a short plane ride to Jordan. (If you've lived in places like the Philippines or India, you know it's a short trip: It's all relative.)
So begins the true lasts of our stateside "tour." School is coming to and end and I'm searching for going-away gifts for teachers and administrators that have made a positive impact on my kids. Katherine's doctors get a big thank you too. Final classes are taken in the next few weeks, final doctor appointments are held.
U.S. related things... Virginia related things... Montclair related things... they are capturing my attention again, as quickly as they faded from view amidst the daily grind of kids off to school, meals to make and a house to fix up. They have now returned along with a touch of sentimentality. The gorgeous windy Waterway Dr. in our neighborhood. Our beaches, both Dolphin in our neighborhood and Virginia a few hours south. The cleanliness of the grocery stores, and the choices, oh, the choices. Costco. Tons and tons of trees and parks and green everywhere you turn, even in the middle of DC. Thunderstorms that are happily ensconced between sprinkles and monsoons. Sidewalks: walkable, wonderful, sidewalks. Proximity to family, 30 minutes to the perfect holiday gathering our weekday lunch. The ease of driving anywhere and everywhere. American English. Washington Capitals hockey. And seasons, how I had missed Spring and Fall.
Memories are poking out through bits and pieces. Katherine's 100-hour pin from Junior Auxiliary volunteering at the hospital. On her last day she'll actually have over 110 hours.
Rebecca and my trip to NYC together. Nicholas earning the President's Academic Award in 5th grade. The kids swimming with the Dale City Frogs three summers in a row, and getting better every year. Katherine spending two years in the Gar-Field Marching Band, and a year with the amazing Wind Symphony in the Youth Orchestras of Prince William. Rebecca learning guitar while the boys picked up cello. Losing Masala, and bringing out Tandoori's true colors. The kids volunteering at Hilda Barg family shelter twice a year to serve meals. The first year was on Halloween and the girls went in costume.
And so many tiny things I couldn't even try to start listing them.
I will miss Virginia, not the politics but the beautiful state itself. I will miss my parents terribly. Yes, I will be sad to leave so many wonders behind, but I will take the memories with me.