I wasn’t exactly reluctant to come home after five weeks of European travel, but truth be told, I easily could have kept going. It’s nice to have your world reduced to two suitcases and a backpack, it’s heaven to teach adults and kids and meet with an ever-enlarging international Orff community of friends, it’s fun to be a tourist and spend whole days just walking the streets. A computer and Wi-fi (now ever-present except in our last frustrating B &B) keeps you connected with your little world, allows you to keep up on news (not necessarily a happy thing these days!), listen to music, watch occasional movies. Feels like I could keep on like this for months at a time and be perfectly happy.
But it’s also nice to be home, even if the chilled air and rain in Berlin followed me to San Francisco. The portable toilet on the sidewalk outside my front door still there 6 months after my neighbor started renovating his kitchen. The wisteria in the back yard is in bloom. The house feels welcoming and…well, home. (After 35 years here, it should!) One day before returning to school and finding out if it still fits, it’s time to remake my acquaintance with house and home.
And so all the domestic chores. Unpack the suitcases, start the laundry, make the grocery list, sort through the mail. Re-organize the kitchen slightly changed by our houseguest, nephew Eren newly moved to San Francisco. Fluff up the meditation cushion, take Buddha and the incense out from the drawer to put back on the window ledge. Take out the compost, no need to water the yard (thanks, rain!). Clear my desk and say hi to my parents in the photo I keep there, check a few phone messages on our ancient landline answering machine and go back to my little Memo book of lists for the day’s errands—bank, post office, buy toothpaste, return travel guides to library, Trader Joe’s shopping. If the weather clears, a bike ride to say hi to Golden Gate Park. If not, maybe a walk with an umbrella. And then the reunion with the piano! There it is, ready to welcome me or scold me or enliven me or disappoint me, depending on some fickle Muse that comes and goes.
Small pleasures. The comfort of familiarity after the newness and excitement of travel, both with their own special delights. Tomorrow, school and kids and my other home in the music room, in fact the place I’ve been longer than my house and perhaps spent more waking hours in. “Wherever you go, there you are” is the old travel wisdom and these days, it’s all home.