Ahh. Finally. Here in Crested Butte.
It always takes me a few days after a long set of traveling with the family to fully relax and look back and reflect on it all. Back in February, traveling to Caen from Crested Butte was not a day at the park, as you may remember from my first blogs. And I still hold to my theory that there probably is not a more boring topic than hearing about people's travel hems and haws. Therefore, I will just tell you that the trip was long (could we possibly live in two more difficult places to travel between?) but we arrived safely and walked out of the Gunnison/Crested Butte Airport with big smiles on our faces. And we have been smiling ever since.
We have been here in Crested Butte since Wednesday, August 5. Our good friend Kristina picked us up at the airport with our big truck around 1:00 p.m. We got big hugs from a good friend and that was awesome. We then piled into our car and for a moment we all were speechless. If you haven't read about our current car (aka the CTA bus) in Caen, it might be hard for you to imagine why getting into our truck was so heavenly it brought us to have no words. But after 6 months of traveling near and far in our gray beastly van, this Yukon was like getting a massage - for a whole 30 minutes until we got to our house.
The ride to our house was perfect. The sky was as beautiful as ever, the mountains were lush and the fields were greener than I ever remembered seeing them. The XM radio was still working and we all happily listened to our favorite station while guiltily pumping the air conditioning to full blast after a few days of sticky, hot travels. Ella, Grace and Mia sang their favorite French songs to Kristina, trying to wow her with their new melodies.
We arrived home and the girls were screaming with delight. The house looked just as we remembered, but better. The grass was green, the trees looked taller, the wildflowers seemed to have bloomed better this summer. We got into the driveway and the girls immediately ran to get on their bikes in the garage. Andrew unpacked the car and I went into the house to just look around. Everything looked perfect, almost too perfect. I think I forgot just how lucky we are to have this house, to live where we live. After biking for a few minutes, the girls then went downstairs to the playroom and I think played with every single toy and wore every single costume within 30 minutes. They were in heaven! They continued to play for hours. I unpacked a little bit but really I just lounged around and felt very relaxed.
The first few days here were weather wacky. An hour of sun, an hour of rain and that continued for about 2 days. But I don't think any of us cared because the sky was so beautiful, the girls had all of their old toys to play with and we didn't have to do anything anyway!
Sleeping here has been so refreshing. I remember when we first moved here we had trouble sleeping due to the complete and utter quiet at nighttime. But now, as we sleep here during this trip, the quiet no longer keeps us up but begs us to sleep. I can't think of two greater contrasts in bedtime noise than Caen, France and Crested Butte, Colorado.
Our first full day here started with getting our favorite coffee from Camp 4 Coffee. We saw tons of familiar faces that couldn't have been nicer and each and every conversation reminded us of why we live in this small, friendly town in the mountains. We took the girls bike riding and even though Ella got a little over-ambitious and had a wipe out, she still ended up being proud to show off her boo-boos to her friends later. I took a trip to the grocery store in Gunnison and stocked up on groceries and just relished in the ease of reading the labels in English and knowing where to look for a product. Late in the afternoon we received an invitation to stop by the girls' old school (The Little Red Schoolhouse) to say hello. Upon arrival the girls were bursting with excitement and when we walked in the lights that had been out came on and followed with a big "SURPRISE!!!" from all of their old classmates and teachers. The girls were stunned but got over that quickly and immediately began to chum around with their old friends. It was a wonderful welcome home and just what I think the girls needed and wanted. We ended the night at our favorite neighborhood restaurant, Ruben's. The margarita's still rock!
The girls went to Little Red on Friday all day long (they asked for it!) so Andrew and I jumped into our desired activities. He went mountain biking and I went to the gym, to the chirpractor (ahhhh....) and then running. We met up a The Brick Oven for a few beers for lunch and just relaxed in the beautiful weather. Late Friday night our good friends the Galloway's arrived from the Boulder area for a visit with their son William. We also had our friends Brad and Kristina over for drinks to catch up. You can't beat such great company!
Saturday was spent at the park in the morning and we had a picnic there. The afternoon was dedicated to the girlies, as my friends Jen and Kristina and I went bike riding up and down the mountain and ended with a beer at The Brick Oven - where else? That night the guys went fly fishing and reported a great time. Andrew hasn't been fly fishing much so he got some great pointers from his friends Brad and Jeff. I think he might actually want to go more often now that he has learned from the pro's.
Today, The Galloways left for home but only after spending the morning and afternoon with us on the mountain at the new adventure park. It has bungees, synthetic ice skating, and a climbing wall. The Galloways started for home around 2:00 p.m. but we stayed on at the park until around 4:30 p.m. It was a long day but full of fun. What a great surprise and treat to have such a fun, new adventure park available at the base of the mountain! The girls loved it - love it.
I have taken a lot of surveys in my life and written or responded to lots of peer review requests. And maybe I am a tough crowd, but I rarely (if ever) give a rating of Exceeds Expectations. But I can honestly say that so far, this trip home has exceeded my expectations. And here is why. The stark contrast of city living to mountain living, of constant noise to quiet, the ease of having a conversation, being able to quickly reading the directions on a box, flipping through channels on the T.V., seeing familiar faces and friends and eating your favorite foods, waking up and seeing a beautiful scene from the kitchen, being able to call friends and relatives at any time during the day, sleeping in your old comfortable bed and relax on your comfy couch, the nice, soft carpet beneath feet. In summary, it's the beauty of life here and the simplicity that accompanies life when you are in your home country. It's good to be home...