I had lived at my new residence for approximately one week before I left for five days. Thus, my return felt a little odd in many ways, as though it was not quite my home I was returning to, but a place with home-potential.
For one, my new house is not yet completely in order. Lance just finished moving all of his belongings in, so there were new items to contend with and to think about placing. On the other hand, my belongings were all here. My cats greeted me as I walked through the door. I knew where I could comfortably drop my bags, and where I wanted to go first. My bed was comforting and cozy. It's a familiar place tinged with strangeness. It's not quite home--not yet, anyway.
Tonight, I went to celebrate the conclusion of the teacher training institute for a group of English teachers from Mexico. I was a teacher buddy, a person who was to provide social interactions for the teachers apart from their class lessons.
The dinner was interesting. In the past, the teachers were told not to speak Spanish. They are here to practice their English, after all. But tonight, the teachers chatted merrily away in a mixture of Spanish and English, which I and another American joined right in. Of course, my Spanish is a little rusty, but it's encouraging to think that I can still understand a great deal and speak a significant amount, enough for a reasonable conversation.
I wonder what it will be like for those teachers to return home tomorrow. Will they hug their husbands, children, or other family members? Will the collapse in a pile, exhausted from the long journey home? Will they immediately feel different?
Journeys change us, yet we don't always know how. I feel that I've been journeying a lot lately, and not just geographically. I traveled to Portland, but I've also be journeying from one home to the next. This time, my journey toward a new home is not solitary, but with a wonderful person. We're moving toward making our first home together, and while I don't yet feel changed by this journey, I look forward to what the path we're treading has in store for us.