On Friday, October 16th we left Kalkhorst and drove south back home, sort of. We spent the first weekend with friends that feel like family. We stayed in pjs, chatted, read, played games, ate delicious meals and didn’t see the girls much because they were so busy reconnecting with friends. It was a really wonderfully relaxing time!
Then on Sunday evening we drove over to Steffen’s dad’s house to stay for the week. It was a busy week of playdates and errands, games and puzzles, treats and good times. The girls were so happy to be back in familiar surroundings with the people they love.
We also fit in a visit with a Golden Retriever breeder where we are hoping to get a puppy from next winter (well, winter 2021-2022). They have 3 dogs, all super sweet and well-behaved, and the family seemed very nice. So we are all really excited (even though we need to wait awhile)!
We also went on a nice walk to enjoy the fall colors and have some time with family safely outdoors. Coronavirus numbers are on the rise in Europe and many countries are currently in lockdown, so we tried to be careful, especially towards the end of our visit.
Being back in our “hometown” was hard for me, though it’s hard to put my finger on exactly what brings on the depression. After a wonderful conversation with a dear friend, she suggested writing a letter to the place to thank it for all it has given me. It was a very powerful exercise that definitely helped me shift my perspective.
We had planned on leaving after a week but things were up in the air with coronavirus numbers rising continent-wide. We wanted to head to southern Italy but it’s far (would require several over nights on the way down) and the country was heading toward lockdown. We hadn’t firmed up any plans, and on Monday afternoon (October 26th) I got that telltale scratchy throat I know too well. I was pretty sure it was strep throat, since I have had it quite a few times over the years. By Tuesday morning I knew I needed antibiotics, and we wanted to get a coronavirus test just in case, so I headed to the dr. She did the test, checked my throat and said she was pretty sure it was an infection. Just to be safe (and to recover), I quarantined in the bedroom for the week (we got the negative test results on Friday afternoon), sleeping most of the time. It’s no fun to be sick, but that was the best place I could be sick! Steffen’s dad and his girlfriend were so helpful, there was plenty of space, and I could get the rest I needed. It delayed us by a week, but that’s fine. No rush.
When I woke up again :-), it was time for Halloween! Things were so up in the air and we knew the girls wouldn’t go trick or treating, so we didn’t do much to prep. I did buy them a few small gifts, and Ilse picked up some yummy candy. The girls pulled together some homemade costumes that morning, Charlotte put on a magic show and then they went trick or treating through the house. We finished the night off with pizza and a movie, and they all declared how much fun they had! It was really wonderful.
Our final outing was a bike ride (for Steffen and I) and a walk through a gorgeous forest. The leaves were incredible!
Overall, it was a very nice visit (though longer than expected!) and we all got what we needed. It was actually better that we stayed a bit longer because the girls were more ready to continue traveling. If we had left a week earlier, they might not have gotten their fill. We are so grateful to everyone for their hospitality, for making playdates work in any way possible and for sharing in our adventure. We really appreciate it!
On Tuesday, November 3rd, we packed up and got back on the road again….