I've noticed over the past decade a curious phenomenon about running. Back before children I would run six miles several times a week. At the end of those runs when home was in sight I remember feeling that I couldn't take it one more step and would surely die before I got there. Sometimes I would have less time to run so I'd cut my route down but still at the end I felt the same way - completely spent. These days I don't have the time to run six miles, so I'm down to around three. And still I feel like three is the longest distance I could ever imagine running. Some mornings when I'm late I might run only a mile or two - not enough to even think about - and still by the end I'm checking the clock wondering when this awful punishment will be over.
So my sense of being utterly spent and finished isn't actually based on how long I run - after all, six miles is a lot longer than one - it's just based on how close I am to being done. When I'm close to being done, I can't take it any longer.
That's how I feel about my life right now. We've been in Azerbaijan for almost an entire year without leaving the country (except Brandon, who's been to Turkey a few times) - which is the longest I've ever been outside the US in one stretch - and I'm just about done with it for now. I'm also getting tired of school and the four walls of my house and Brandon being at work every day and having the same three options every weekend. Which means it's time for a vacation!
The funny thing about vacations living overseas is that they tend to be longer than ones people take stateside. As a child we would take one big vacation every summer, for one week to the beach two hours away. Every few years we would visit family on the west coast for two weeks (I remember thinking how horrible three hours of jet lag was. ha.), but that was the longest we went on vacation.
But when you live overseas, anything less than three weeks simply isn't worth the time it takes to get over the jet lag. We have some friends in the military who came here direct from Moscow and had to fight to get some of their home leave. In the end they were given two weeks so they just went to London for a week because there wasn't enough time to make travel to the States worthwhile.
We have some other friends who just got back from their three weeks with family. When we saw them we asked how their time with family was - lots of fun? They smiled and sighed and we nodded knowingly and smiled too. Three weeks of living out of our suitcase with family is a long time.
It's wonderful to see family and fantastic to be back in the US where nobody stares at you and everyone drives in the lines and anyone in any store can understand your questions. I love it. I look forward to it every year as the highlight of the summer. I always wonder how I'm going to live life when I have to return to crazy-life.
But by the end, we're ready to get back home to schedules and our own house and regular life. So it's good - we're looking forward to going and by the end we're looking forward coming home.
Right now, however, we are oh so very much looking forward to getting the heck out of here and not being in Azerbiajan, not being in our house, not waiting endlessly for Brandon to come home from work, not fighting crazy traffic, not being a magnet for adoring fans every time we go to the grocery store, and just taking a break.
I'm looking forward to seeing my youngest brother, who I haven't seen in three years, my cousins, my other siblings, and spending a week playing at the beach. I'm looking forward to to seeing Brandon's family (yes, really) and taking evening walks through cornfields at dusk, reveling in being the only people in that hundred-acre field. I'm looking forward to Target, getting my hair cut, and being able to talk to anyone I see. At this point, I'm even looking forward to watching movies on the plane, and the orderly first-worldliness of the the Frankfurt airport.
It's time to escape from every day life and go on a vacation. See you in a few weeks!