We’re BACK!! It’s official – we are now Washington residents. We drive with WA drivers licenses, we vote in WA and our cars are registered in WA.
It was wonderful flying in and hearing the rain pelt the windows of the plane. We left the airport and donned our down coats and drove across the bridge to the Eastside. Just like we always used to do.
Jeff was smiling – we were home again. It was late, but we knew exactly where we were going because we had driven these roads for decades. And even at nearly midnight, in the pouring rain, nothing could dampen our spirits.
In the morning we drove out to our town, Snoqualmie. It was foggy, as December mornings should be. The famous Falls were right where we left them, and were roaring for us after a good rain. Jeff, an experienced white water kayaker, guessed the amount of water going over and he was right. It all felt good and familiar.
We drove past the old train depot. Where Thomas the Tank engine ferries excited little kids to North Bend each summer, and the Santa train was promising magic Polar Express adventure on that very day.
The old candy factory and ice cream shop across the street was not yet open for business to serve their wonderful hot chocolate. This is the place I took my kids every year after the first day of school to hear about their new classrooms and teachers. And on the last day of school to celebrate a successful year. It’s a tradition I miss sometimes.
We got down to the administrative business and every person who helped us at the DMV or the State licensing division welcomed us back. It felt wonderful. We had lunch with my son, Nick, and heard all about his successes at work and he’s doing great!
On Saturday afternoon, my old work colleagues shared sushi with me and we all updated each other on our lives. It was great to hear how well they’re all doing and their plans for the future. I was so honored to work with all of them.
But before long we were at a holiday party of our oldest friends. These are the people we’ve known the longest in Seattle. People who were at our wedding – who helped host our wedding – and were instrumental in making it the special day as it was.
Curt and Butch, Tom and Lori, Chris and Christine. People we don’t see that much. They live in Greece, or Palm Springs or are busy raising a young family in Seattle. Or they travel a ton themselves and are always having adventures. But it was wonderful to reconnect. To hear how they are doing over many glasses of wine, grappa, limonchello. To laugh and share our lives like only old friends can do. They’re the people who know us – the good and the bad. And they still like us – at least I hope so!
When we left, Jeff was smiling.
‘Its weird. After all these years, we can just get together with that group and it’s like time hasn’t gone by. I looked around, and we’re all grayer and maybe we have wrinkles, but our lives have all intersected. It was really nice.’
On Sunday morning, we went to ‘Our Breakfast Place’ in Issaquah. We haven’t been there in over a year and the person who seated us wasn’t someone we recognized. Halfway through breakfast, we looked up and our old waitress was standing there.
‘Hey. I thought that was you guys. I just said to Joanie, I think that’s them. Its good to see you.’
We were so pleased that we were missed. We used to come there a couple times a week for our coffee and bacon. In those days we didn’t even have to order. They just brought out ‘the usual’.
We already have a date on the calendar for Tom and Lori’s visit to Valencia next year. And we’ll see the others there too. It made me realize how much these friendships mean to me and how glad I am that no matter how far away we live, that isn’t going to change. And that Home is always waiting for us.