There really is no place like home. It’s wonderful to travel abroad, but there is something so indescribably comforting about coming home. One thing that struck me is how big the sky is at home, specifically in Las Vegas. It’s so expansive and blue. Many of our days in Paris were overcast and gloomy, especially toward the end of our stay, and between narrow alleyways and densely crowded buildings, sometimes all we saw was a meager gray strip of the wintry Paris sky. I can’t get over how enormous, cloudless, and sunny Las Vegas skies are. On our first day back, the kids rode their tricycles around our cul-de-sac and it felt bizarre to be able to go outside without having to put on a million layers of clothing and to have so much open space. Everything in America seems so huge and spacious, if a little sterile and generic. Our house is GIGANTIC. My bedroom is the size of our entire Parisian apartment.
Getting reacclimated to our former lives is disorienting and exhilarating. Not only do we have to adjust to blinding sunshine, we’re once again recovering from jet lag and culture shock. It’s pretty amazing how many times our kids have experienced jet lag recently. I love how they’ve acquired a taste for things like salted fish, saucisson, and escargot. I’m not sure how much of our travels they’ll remember as they grow older, but I know the time I’ve spent with them is a priceless investment in who they will become, not to mention in myself as a parent and as a person. I feel like I’ve changed, but I can’t tell exactly how.
In the past several months we’ve gotten proficient at one point or another at calculating exchange rates for U.S. dollars to Euros, British pounds, Japanese yen, Thai baht, Singapore dollars, Malaysian ringgit and Vietnamese dong. Super-processed, factory-made foods are less appealing than ever. We’ve been incredibly fortunate to be able to travel as a family and experience different cultures and cuisines. Sometimes a foreign destination doesn’t live up to your expectations or to what you’re used to at home. Or — what usually happens — your vacation was so fantastic that it’s disappointing to come home to your depressingly ordinary, everyday life. I feel like we got the best of both worlds: being enthralled and enriched by new adventures, and gaining an enhanced appreciation of home.