What an unexpected and welcome treat a month in the States has been. After 3 years away, it was all new again and big and overwhelming and bogglingly expensive and full of STUFF. Noticing the little differences and the big ones makes me realize all over again that it's not the differences that matter, it's just differENT here. It's weird to see the changes that once were gradual, have now sped up and become strange to my Europeanized eyes. Even in the office, talking to the printer our US-based marketing team uses, I realize that after years of disinclination and refusal, the use of the metric system snuck up on me somehow...I find myself thinking in millimeters and kilos and celsius. Even though my fingers still know the measure of an inch, my hands know the span of a foot, and my eyes can estimate the depth of a cup without thinking, somewhere along the way my brain seems to have converted.
Karin called me up today, late afternoon in America, bedtime in Sweden. WHEN ARE YOU COMING HOME? she yelled on the phone. The manager asked me the other day if I talked to my family every day; surprised I answered no, and told her that I doubted my kids even realized I was gone. I was wrong. Karin hugged the phone and blew me eardrum-vibrating kisses through it. I could hear in Martin's voice that he was missing his mama. I miss them too, when I am gone, and this was the longest I have ever been gone from them, I think. 2 weeks!
The magnolias and cherry trees and forsythias are blooming here, which I've probably missed in Sweden. Such a strange spring I've experienced, jumping from Sweden to Michigan to Massachusetts: sun to snow to rain to spring in the space of a month. A blessing to have the opportunity to sort of step outside my life where I can turn and look over my shoulder and admire it and miss it and long to return to it, when what I thought I needed was the chance to get away from it for awhile.