Reflections on a vacation.

As I work to turn from “vacation me” back into “normal me,” (a task that involves a lot more laundry than I’d like) I’m thinking back on some of the things I appreciate about the Baltimore/D.C. area every time I’m lucky enough to get there.

•Life is simply very different 1,500 miles from my home. People are kind of piled on top of each other in their houses and apartments, in their transportation, in their work. And something about that constant proximity to others seems to break down some barriers. I often hear that the Midwest is the friendliest part of the country. I disagree. People in the Midwest are superficially pleasant. In my experience, people in the East know how to get along with others through constantly being in close quarters with them. It’s an interesting distinction.

•I LOVE being so near to people who don’t look like or sound like me. Regular contact with folks who have a different color of skin or a different accent / language or a completely different background can only be a good thing.

•Speaking of a different accent, I finally got to hear the “Bawl-mer” accent in a woman from our daughter’s church. It’s very difficult to describe. A little bit southern. I noted that the long “a” sound is substituted for the short “a” sound in most words. Fascinating!

•You have to appreciate a place that knows the correct grammar to use on the express lane signs in the grocery store. Around here it’s always “12 items or less.” Wrong.

By the way, that very “green” sign about not using plastic bags unless requested is a total fib. I had to go to this store three times and got a plastic bag by default every time.

•When folks are so close together, space is at a premium, and parking and transportation take on a whole new dimension, walking-distance living and lively neighborhoods are one result. Not only is that fact a fun and novel experience for those of us who feel compelled to own one vehicle per family member (with ample garage/driveway space to park all those cars), it also fosters a great sense of community.

Walking a block and a half to church, which is right across the street from everyone’s favorite ice cream joint. And only a few steps away from a psycic center, a boho boutique, and a high-end restaurant.

One final reflection: One of the loveliest aspects of this vacation was our welcome when we came home. Middle had been on her own while we were gone, and was in class for the entire evening upon our return. She’d spent a few hours earlier in the day cleaning and tidying, doing laundry, and preparing a meal for us, even though she wouldn’t be there to enjoy it. We returned to a peaceful, welcoming, and deliciously-scented home. She’s a gem.

There’s no place like home. But there’s no place like “far away,” either.


10 thoughts on “Reflections on a vacation.

  1. So interesting to see your perspective of the East and how different it feels from home. When I’ve visited DC, the walkable/city aspect has always been a contrast to my daily suburban life, but the diversity aspect isn’t noticeable to me, because my own workplace is so mixed. I can see how you would really love the contrasts and differences that I mostly take for granted!

    And what a lovely and thoughtful welcome-home from your daughter. What a great surprise! Did it remind you at all of Laura Ingalls and her sisters doing the fall housecleaning, to surprise Ma after she took Mary to college? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, I hadn’t thought of that episode – I think from Little Town on the Praire – for years! Obviously it’s time for a re-read. And yes, it was very much like that. It was really nice to have a built-in house sitter, as well as someone so awesome to come home to.


  2. This is an interesting take on the East. Maybe I didn’t give it a good enough chance, but I didn’t care for it all. There were way too many people for my liking. However, I am glad to hear that you enjoyed it and that you came back home to such a nice welcoming.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, it has occurred to me that I might just be wearing rose-colored glasses because I associate the east coast with my daughter AND because I’m thoroughly sick of life in the uber-red state of Kansas…


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