Tuesday, June 2, 2009

There is a video playing continuously

when you're waiting in the eternities that is Customs and Immigration in the Houston International Airport.

You are tired. You just sat ramrod straight for tenandahalf hours - besides the occasional rockingchildbacktosleepinabsolutelynospace, of course. Your tear ducts are so swollen that you feel they may never recover. Your throat hurts from sobbing in short bursts for three days. Your arms ache from hundreds of bone-crushing hugs, trying to pour your whole soul into an embrace - trying to express through the curve of your neck what words can never say.

My last image of Brazil was of a dozen of my dearest friends, each clasping her mouth, trying unsuccessfully to hold back the emotion that we have avoided for months. Agonized eyes. Not knowing when we'll see one another again. There were no goodbyes - opening the mouth would have been highly dangerous.

As we drove away, doubled over the steering wheel and praying that the Lord would help me drive, I wondered why were we leaving again? This phrase repeated itself all through the long night, no room to pace, asking myself why on earth we would voluntarily leave our Brazilian paradise.

And then, standing in line trying to keep Ouro Branco from undoing all the elastic line dividers, I remembered.

The video.

It is a video of Americans in bright orange and pink saris with red dots on their foreheads. It is a video of Americans with black mustaches playing guitars and wearing sombreros. It is a video of American teenagers shooting hoops in a courtyard sandwiched between high buildings with reflective windows. It is a video of Americans playing chess in a park, climbing mountains, performing ballet, going to school and eating dinner on the back porch.

And they all say the same thing: Welcome. Welcome to the United States.

This is why we left.

I'm home. Not that that means I have a house - we've been in six states since we moved, living out of suitcases and laughing when people ask where we're from.

I'll tell you where I'm from - I'm from AMERICA.

(I finally have steady access to a computer. and I'll tell you all about our adventures. I've missed you. Thank you for missing me. I read every email with delight and wonder at such good friends. You? Rock.)

27 comments:

Erin said...

I am so excited that you are back, and I can't wait to hear about the adventures! I hope you are over the jet lag, and I know you will never be "over" missing your friends. And I also know you will make new ones.

Welcome home!

NatalieHemingway said...

Glad to see you back too. Rach said she had a great visit with you at your Mom's house. I was bummed she went without me :( Still around?

Deb said...

Waiting for more, and glad you all are safe and well.

Vanessa said...

I was thinking about you today actually, wondering if you made it here in one piece. Can't wait to hear all of the adventures that got you back!

Jody Blue said...

so fun to see you've plugged back in, look forward to seeing what your up to.

Kristina P. said...

I;m sure it's very bittersweet.

Rachel Sue said...

You're back! I've missed you and wondered how everything went. Can't wait to hear about the rest of the adventure.

Joni said...

*smiling*

gigi said...

Yea! You're home! Safely!
Look forward to more details.
Be happy and not sad.
Blessings.

Julie said...

Yay! I missed you. You should come to Idaho. I mean, what's one more state when you've been traveling so much already?

Perpetual Mommy Exhaustion said...

Hooray! We were talking about you this evening...glad to hear you're still in one piece!

heidizinha said...

I SEE YOU TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

trublubyu said...

so glad to hear from you! i hope your transition goes well! welcome back to the greatest country on earth!

DeNae said...

I have always been a little choked up when I see the American Olympic team come into the stadium during the Parade of Nations. Every race, every national heritage is represented there. I love that about this country.

I've thought a lot about you these last weeks, my dear. I know it's been a roller coaster, and you will spend the rest of your life starting conversations with, "When we were living in Brazil..."

But you've hit the secret to the ex-pat life: Learn something, leave something, and love your temporary home enough it breaks your heart to say goodbye.

And then cry those same big tears when you return to the US, still the greatest nation on earth.

Welcome home.

LisAway said...

Hooray! You're back! What a sad opening. Glad you got through the worst of it, and hope your transition is going well. I just love America.

Heather of the EO said...

The picture of your friends saying goodbye was so well-written, I can just see it, and it's so sad. It really is so hard to say goodbye, but I'm so glad you feel so good about being home.

You've been missed!

Barbaloot said...

Welcome home! Hope your move went/continues to go okay!

Brittany Ann said...

Hooray! I'm so glad your back. I have missed you immensely, you and your witty posts. Can't wait to hear all about it.

jess said...

Welcome home.. although now you may get homesick for Brazil from time to time... we missed you and can't wait to hear about your adventures!!

Korbi said...

Bienvenido!

Kimberly said...

Oh how I've missed you! Welcome home, sweet thing.

Hilary said...

Welcome Back!

SO said...

YAY!!! I'm so glad that you are back!!

Tobi said...

Glad your back on board with the blogging train. Happy to have you back in the U.S. of A as well. Keep rocking the blog superstar Bex style!!

Easy E said...

Glad to have you back!!!

Melanie J said...

Yay! You're back!

Carolyn said...

Welcome back, lady!