Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A little sniveling between parts 1 and 2...

Today's Thursday. We got back from California (home sweet home) on Monday, and to tell you the truth, I thought that in spite of the jet-lag, that I would be feeling a lot better by now.
But I'm not.
I feel like crap and I've been feeling sort of angry for some reason.

And this morning, (at 3am - thank you, jet-lag) I realized why I've been out of sorts.

Now... when I said that I had a fantastic trip home, I was being honest with you.
Well... 99.5% honest, anyway.

The trip was fantastic in so many, many ways... and it did my heart a world of good to be back home where I belong. To be back with my son, my beautiful DIL and grandsons, and to just revel in the heart-warming homeyness of it all.

To watch the oak trees unfurl their rust colored baby leaves, quietly turning to the most gorgeous, soft, uplifting green, in just 3 short weeks...
To watch and listen to the blue jays scolding one another and anyone who dared get in their path...
To watch the snow flakes fall and cover everything in sight with such beauty, that even the ugly is transformed...
To listen to the rustle and snorts of the deer in the woods, and to watch the squirrels scampering around with simple forthright aliveness.
To cook for my family and to watch my son eat just about anything set before him.. and a lot that wasn't.

See, Josh is an eater. He eats to live, and he lives to eat... and he can cook, right along with the best of them. And he stays fit with it all, because his job is such a physical one.
But with things the way the are in the US right now, his little family is struggling, and they've been just barely getting by on the basics.

So when mama starts in buying treat-y stuff like graham crackers and Cheerios and a couple of bags of Reese's miniatures, and the fixin's for S'mores... and stocking up on grocery staples and then cooking 3 huge pans of lasagna, or making green onion cakes and biscuits and cinnamon rolls, he thought all of his Christmas's had come at once.
So he ate.
And then he ate some more.

That part was heavenly. That was what I went for.

But... the worm in the apple was that I took the old guy and a friend with me.
Not that I regret doing it, and to be completely fair about it, I did enjoy having them with me.
But still...
(Not that either of them could ever be compared to worms... I'm just using that as a metaphor.
Probably a really poor one, but there ya go... Didn't I tell you that I'm still jet-lagged?)

It just seems to me, (and yes, I'm sort-of-whining-like-a-spoiled-child... So just deal with it.) that this was supposed to be my trip.
This was my family and my home ... and I seriously needed the breather as well as spending some time doing exactly what "I" wanted to do.
At least part of the time.
I needed to recharge my batteries before the year or so ahead of me, before I go back for good.
(Because I will be going home again, no matter what Thomas Wolfe may have said about it. And who in the hell decided that Thomas Wolfe was the end-all and be-all of quotation utterer's anyway, eh?)
I wanted to be able to visit with friends both old and new, I wanted to eat Mexican food until I popped - or popped off - whichever came first... and I wanted to just sit back and soak up the joy that my family and "home" brings to me.

Yet somehow, it just didn't work out that way.
Well, it did, but then again it didn't.

Jenn wanted to shop.
The Old Guy wanted to shop.
Then they wanted to shop again the next day.
And the next.
And I understand that. I really do.
Because the prices in the US are so much cheaper than they are here in Australia. Things that are considered a luxury here, are commonplace and affordable in America.

But sadly, both of them turned their noses up at Mexican food, and opted for McDonald's or Burger King or Chinese...
And see, the thing is... we have McDonald's and Burger King here in Australia. (well BK is called Hungry Jacks, but it's owned by Burger King - don't ask me why. The food is the exact same thing, anyway.)
And we have Chinese food here in Australia as well.
What we don't have is easy access to decent Mexican food, without driving for hours and hours.
And who can justify driving 2 hours just to fill up on semi-authentic enchiladas or tacos (I use the term "semi-authentic" very loosely, believe me), and then drive 2 hours back home again?

And see, what I wanted, and what I craved... was to have the foods what I can't ordinarily have.
Foods that are a part of who I am, and that make me feel more connected to my California/Okie roots.
Family foods.
I wanted foods and experiences that I've had a serious-a** craving for, for the last 2 years.
Now was that too much to ask?
Was it?

Okay you can call me silly, ( feel free, because I've been called a lot worse in my time, believe me.. and "whiny bi***" may very well be one of 'em - and you're free to call me that too, if you want) but doesn't part of the experience of going to a foreign country include stepping outside your comfort zone just a little bit?
Trying new foods?
Going new places?
Doing new things?
Not doing the things that you would ordinarily do at home?

Now don't get me wrong, I'm glad that Jenn and the Old Guy has such a good time.
I really truly am. Because I love them.
They both had such a good time that they both agreed that they want to go back again... And it does makes me feel good that they had such a great experience.
And I'm happy for them.
I really am.

But while they're feeling happy and content ... I'm left feeling a bit let down.
Childish, in fact.
I want to pout and stamp my feet and say "it isn't fair".
But I won't, because I'm not made that way.
(well, I probably am, but I'm real good at putting on a brave face and sucking it up most of the time. I have an image to maintain, and the Lord knows, I maintain it well.)

See, I feel sad that I well and truly missed out on spending more time with Connie from Over Good Ground, who lives just over the hill in Amador County. She even took down the "Trespassers Will Be Shot" sign, in my honor, because I was supposed to come over for some quality time. So Connie could home her social skills (her words, not mine. I thought her social skills were perfectly honed, in every way) And her sweet little Carl was even going to do some dog tricks for company and all.
But we didn't make it.
And it hurts my heart.

And I missed out on spending more time with my best friend Chris, from junior high school (we hadn't seen one another in over 42 years, but we fell right back into being "best friends" again, just like I knew we would!)

As well as missing out on spending more time with my cousins Linda and Bill ... close family that I hadn't seen since about 1974 ... which is way too long, in my book.
And Linda even brought me some old family photos that I had never seen before, of my Mom and her Mom and other dimly-remembered family members... Photos that made me gasp in wonder.
( Now before you start stressin', don't worry... you'll get to meet Chris, Linda and Bill, as well as the oh-so-lovely-platinum-haired Robynn and Grizzly and the Wild Man from Robynns Ravings, in Part 2, okay?)

So, I missed out on spending time with old and new friends... and long-lost family.
I missed out on filling myself up with Mexican food and Pulled Pork sandwiches...
I missed out on cooking up a mess 'o greens with fat back and cornbread, simply because of a few turned-up noses...
I just feel like I missed out, almost all the way around.

Except for the family time and cooking up a storm time for hungry belly's, of course.
And except for watching spring and nature unfurl in all her glory, right before my eyes... while the grandsons did the exact same thing. I swear, I could sit and watch them grow and change, if they only sat still long enough! Frantic, hungry squirrels have nothing on my boys when it comes to scampering around!

So okay... there you have it.
I'm a whiny, ungrateful woman... and I'm not proud of it.

I'll try harder with the next post - Part 2 -, okay?


Becky said...

Vent all you want! It's okay with me. I most likely would feel the same way if I was in your place.

farmlady said...

I thought that might be the case. I'm so sorry and you have the right to be upset.
Next time come BY YOURSELF,girl and if you want Mexican, you will get Mexican. All you can eat...

Libby's Library said...

I hear ya Spud Woman. Wish I could wave a magic wand, so that you cold do it all over again YOUR WAY!

Anita said...

I hope you can go home soon and be with your family.I bet your son and grands will be glad also.

Sooziebelle said...

Hiya Katietatie … your story reminds me of the way I felt when I last went home for a visit to the US. I had lots and lots of friends whom I had not seen or talked to in three years and they ALL wanted to catch up with Neil and I. They all wanted to invite us out to their places for dinner, to stay all day and relax and have a good time. These friends were scattered everywhere, at various summer homes on lakes, and I will be damned if we did not spend half our precious three weeks just driving everywhere! When we got back to Australia, it felt like it had been everyone else’s holiday and not OURS, even though it was great to see everyone. And yeah, I felt a little guilty for feeling so selfish. But the bottom line is this … It’s costs so much money and takes so much preparation to fly home, that you should be able to be BLOODY-MINDED (as they say here in Oz) about it all and remember this is about YOU and what you want and need. Yes I know Col and Jenn are dear to you and you want them to be able to have a good time too, but your situation is different because you were going HOME. There is a difference between going HOME and having a holiday. Maybe you can compromise, maybe there can be some overlapping of activities to suit everyone, but the bottom line is your needs were and are and always will be just a bit different than theirs. Both now and in the future. That is just the way things are. You have a right to those feelings you are having. Embrace them and use them to help you with your planning in the future.

I am so very, very glad to hear that you had a great time, and also were able to meet up with the special friends you have made and not met yet. What a fantastic thing!!

Sooziebelle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sooziebelle said...

Just so you don't wonder, I accidentally posted my comment twice so I went back and deleted one of 'em! You can tell I am such a pro at this, LOL.

Roslyn said...

So glad your visit was great & I totally identify with your issues! Been there, done that too,LOL
Been thinking about you & just wrote to Connie to say "I know she is back in Aus now...."
We have good Mex food in Phx too!
Nice to know you are coming back to the USA, we will meet then, my dear!

Alison G said...

Hi! I'm a Texan (born in CA) and now live in Austria, not to be confused with Australia as the US postal service tends to do. I discovered your blog through Homesick Texan which I read religiously. I totally know what you mean about traveling back to the States. I only take my Austrian boyfriend with me about every 3 years because we have completely different ideas of vacation in Texas. I am fortunate in that he likes Tex-Mex food (a lot!) but still, sometimes it's just easier to go alone. Hope you get a chance to go back soon and experience your "home" the way you like.

diney said...

Great to have got it off your chest on the blog, I imagine! It's a shame, but it sounds like you are quite justified in feeling like a bit of foot stamping. Perfectly acceptable!

Marjie said...

Well, you took them along with the best of intentions, but maybe you should have cut them loose to do their things while you did yours. And as for me, well, it always seems like something or other could have been better when I look back at a vacation. But one as costly as that must have been should have been freakin' perfect! Ah, well....there's always next year, right?

Ladybird World Mother said...

Oh how I love a good vent!! You vent just when you please... you KNOW we wont tell...I so understand how you feel... expectations that are not fulfilled, esp such HUGE expectations, are hard to deal with. Esp. when everyone else's darned expectations had a ball. So much love. Oh, and when you next get to go home... DO IT YOUR WAY.

Linda said...

I get it. But it took years of reading blogs, forums, recipes, novels to get that part of America. I am sorry you couldn't do those things. Tell them to read Earlene Fowler lol.

Homestay Mama said...

I think you should move back home, Katie. Seriously!

Robynn's Ravings said...

You feel sad too, Kate, because you know you belong here. We made our exit that day because we could see your were near to overwhelmed and that's not a great feeling. YOu needed to spend time with the dear family and friends you were reconnecting with (and I enjoyed so much). We'll get to try again, won't we. I'm just glad I got to see your face!


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