They keep telling me it's like we never left. That we've all just slipped right back into Canadian life again.
And for two weeks that's been great.
I've been on the go pretty much since we returned to Canada, trying to nail down our reno plans, getting the kids settled in school, looking at new cars, organizing play dates and sleepovers, fixing things around the house.
It's kept me occupied and darker thoughts away.
But I didn't sleep well last night. I didn't really sleep at all. The reality of the situation could no longer be pushed aside by fatigue after a busy day:
It's all done. The adventure of a lifetime. Our big gift to our children. It's over.
We planned for it and looked forward to it for years. I even dreamed about it, imagining how idyllic it would be. And now it's come and gone. 10 months of my life that just flew by in the blink of an eye.
I know we took full advantage of the time we had, and I don't feel like we left anything undone. But it's still difficult to accept that it's done. Finished. The End.
The air is not the same here. It is hectic. It involves a lot of driving and shopping. Everything is large, the roads, the stores, the portions. It's a little overwhelming after the small-ness of Europe.
My children's lives are different now. Less independent, more organized by adults. Their school is much more academic, for sure. But I'm not sure it's as much fun, and it certainly doesn't involve as much outdoorsy, physical activity.
Mike's life has taken a busy turn, as he's been inundated with requests and offers of new and exciting challenges at the university. He's got important decisions to make over the course of the next few weeks, some of which could seriously impact the amount of time he is able to spend at home.
My work hasn't changed, but my social agenda has. I've had fun catching up with my friends, but I already miss those quiet days, where Mike and I could work for a few hours, then go for a walk. We'd pick the boys up early from school and either invite their cousins over for dinner, or walk up to my parents' house for a glass of wine. Or pack the car and head for the mountains.
Oh, those mountains. They are still there. Waiting. What I wouldn't give to head up into the mountains this weekend. Breathe in the fresh mountain air, and maybe hike that one peak the weather prevented us from reaching last time.
Instead, I'll probably spend some time looking through the photos from the past year. Maybe I'll get some printed out and framed for display around the house. And reminisce about the year we conquered the Vikings.