Currently I'm sitting in a newly opened, pretty unapologetically hipster coffee shop down the street from our Old Fourth Ward apartment. It's times like these when I'm walking down the street in shorts or sitting on my balcony with a glass of wine, shoulders out, that I think, stop and appreciate this. Appreciate those leaves that are starting to fall. Appreciate the coolness to the air in the morning when you wake up before dawn to go to work. It's very easy to fall back into the American life where we are blasting through our lives and not stopping to think how these simplicities are not even a possibility in other countries. The wi-fi not working in your local Kroger? The green tea brand that you like isn't being carried anymore? It's okay. At least you're not working in 117 degree heat and having your passport withheld. Now that I'm in America, I can be a bit more frank about the things we saw while living in Qatar (but thats another post entirely).
So we've been back in America for nearly three months and I have to say that it is shocking the ease to which you fall back into the routines, the expectations, the life. I think last summer we basically spent two months in awe of all things American and were going headlong into every summer experience that this carb-loaded country could offer us. However, being back *for good* is something totally different. You're busy. You're busy with "real life". I had basically one or two weeks to get things out of storage and unpacked before I started work. We were busy setting up our phones, internet, utilities. No vacation stuff. We were turning our life back on. It proved to be time consuming and, at times, difficult. You don't realize how plugged in you are until you have to plug yourself back in. Matrix style, y'all. Back into the machine!
I have been taking some photos to document our ~life change~ so you guys could see the adventure that is coming back to your home country. Once you're gone for so long, your own country starts to feel a bit foreign and the long stretches between pulling our your dirty, patch covered pack definitely has you feeling the itch to travel even though you've just returned.
One of our last days in Doha after completely packing up our apartment and putting it back to the generic, clinical looking way that it was. Y'all. Our apartment did -not- look like this when we were done filling it with art, books and pillows. To those friends who came over for dinner all the time, doesn't this look weird??
On our last night in Doha we went to have dinner at Salamath (Justin's favorite Sri Lankan restaurant) and then went to Petite Cafe where we had tea and shisha with our friends until our individual flight times started popping up.
We got into the car with our friend Eddie and that was when we heard that the airport that we were meant to fly into in Turkey had just been bombed. We were...extremely paranoid and anxious to say the least. We got back home and, not sure what to do, Justin called Turkish Airlines. They basically told us, just hold on...we'll call you back. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. We sat in this in-between zone of needing to leave the country but certainly not wanting to fly into Turkey. After staying up all night and trying to figure out what in the world we were going to do, we managed to get the new direct flight from Doha to Atlanta on Qatar Airways. We lugged our four huge bags down to the waiting car, gave the keys to the security guard who had no idea they needed to take my keys and, while the sun was finally coming up, watched as our home from the past two years disappeared into the already descending fog of dust and humidity. And I did definitely cry. How could you not after everything that we lived through in Doha? I do miss aspects of living abroad. Do I miss Doha itself? Kind of. Would I go back? Ehhhhh....TBD. I would mostly go solely to see all my buddies again but lets meet in Georgia (the country) or Thailand or Ireland or anywhere else instead first. Hah.
Currently Justin and I are putting a lot of heart into our apartment in downtown Atlanta and really investing in it to make it gloriously ours. In our apartment is our huge collection of books (as we're both huge readers), photos of our family, photos of our travels, Ganesha from India, Buddha from Sri Lanka, pillows from Bali, a trekking map from Nepal. We've been finding local builders and artists to help fill our home with art and custom furniture. Our apartment is such a reflection of our life together. It's our home.
So as we're settling back into our American life, complaining about green tea and drinking all the three dollar Trader Joe's wine we can, we are still remembering Doha and all of the great memories, friends and travels we had. Not to say that all of that is over. It's definitely not. It's just minus karak and Afghan Brothers.
Next up on a trip list: stay tuned for stories and photos from Montana and Iceland (I'm coming for you tiny Icelandic ponies!).