Coming Home: Not All Who Wander Are Lost

June 2, 2009 - Managua, Nicaragua

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” - Jack Kerouac

Thank you to everyone who has written and/or called these last few weeks.  Today, it is exactly 6 weeks since I had my emergency surgery in Ecuador.  I'm at my folks' place in St. Paul now and feeling better and better everyday, but it takes a lot longer than I would like to heal 100%, after a major surgery like the one I had.  I've been going a little stir crazy, but overall, it's good to be back.   Being with my parents in their quiet home has been a great buffer for returning to the USA, and seeing my sister and her family so often has been a real treat.  Unfortunately, I have to hold myself back from picking up  the kiddos and rough housing, but they have been very understanding about why their Auntie is such a fuddy-duddy these days.

The most immediate thing we noticed upon returning home was that it was just too freaking cold!  Our bodies have been used to tropical weather for the last 9 months, so flying into MSP was a shock.  But, we're getting used to the weather here.  On sunny days it even feels warm. It's been amazing to watch spring shape into summer these last few weeks.  When we arrived, it was cold, the trees were bare, the hardened ground had just begun to break open and unleash the sprouts longing for sun. Now, the trees are covered in green, the grass is freshly seeded and lush, and those tiny sprouts are fully grown tulips, peonies, iris.

"A traveler without observation is a bird without wings.” - Moslih Eddin Saadi

I saw a specialist here in MN, and he seemed to think all was going as it should be in the recovery, so that was a relief to hear. I have to stay away from certain foods, no sit ups for 6 more weeks, no heavy lifting...things you might expect within a recovery period.  I'm hoping I'll be able to do a little bit more as time goes on, maybe even wakeboard and ski in a few weeks!

I'm thankful and amazed that I was so lucky, considering the possible outcomes.  I haven't really had a chance to face the reality of a near death experience.  I'm sure it will be a process of acceptance and reflection as I come to terms with the whole thing. When your body betrays you, you feel your most...human. But, I still hold the drive to learn, to explore, to challenge myself!  That's why I'm going to attempt to go to Nicaragua at the end of June for the program with which I was supposed to finish the trip.  I think participating in the Center for Global Education program will do good things for my mental and emotional recovery.  Got to get back on that horse, even after such a scary fall!

“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things - air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky - all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” - Cesare Pavese

Andy is currently in Nicaragua, so I'm hoping he will post his own entries regarding that trip.   He is with the Center for Global Education studying environmental justice and sustainability with a group of about 20.   He doesn't know exactly what he'll be doing for employment upon return to Seattle, so we're hoping this trip will prove to be an advantage for him in more ways than one.  If anyone has any ideas, we're taking suggestions!  However, I just got some good news; I just found out that I DO have a job upon return.  I'll be back at Lake Washington High School but just don't know what I'll be teaching yet.  With all the cuts to the state educational budgets, I'm pretty lucky to simply be employed.  And after all my health issues lately, everything is really kind of relative.  I'm happy to be alive!

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” - Henry Miller

I'm not sure travelling "around the world" answered all of my questions, but it sure was an adventure and a break from the realities of home, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.  No regrets, even after the really scary medical emergency.  We talked about what we might do differently, if there ever was a "next time", and we decided we would want to stay somewhere in particular for a longer period of time. The way we travelled over the course of this year, we saw SO MUCH in a small amount of time!  But, we were always on the move, constantly adapting to new cultures, people, and places.  And that got exhausting.  However, now, we have some great ideas of where we'd like to return someday. And I love being reminded of how small the world really is, how connected we all really are, and how important it is to love your life right now.

Thanks again for all your positive thoughts.  Happy summer; by the time you read this it will probably be time to dust off the backpacks and head up the mountain. 

Peace and sunny days,

Lis

 


9 Comments

Sharla Luther:
June 2, 2009
Lis, I am so happy to hear you're on the mend... I have read your travel journal over the months with amazement, envy, and admiration... and then, with horror on hearing about your emergency! My heart went/goes out to you. So glad to hear you're home and healing. I hope you can join Andy in Nicaragua as planned! Take good care, Sharla
Claudia:
June 2, 2009
Nicely said, Lis. I look forward to more posts, you certainly don't have to travel around the world to have adventures, and you write about your experiences so well. Always a pleasure to read. Looking forward to our experience in Minnesota, soon, very soon.
Tena:
June 2, 2009
Your photos are amazing, Girl. I can't wait to see you and get caught up!! I sent an email to your hotmail...not sure if that's still up or not? Glad to hear you are recovering and in such awesome spirits. Love the quotes about travel. Miss you!!!
Quincy & Mona & Leo:
June 5, 2009
We love you guys! Kisses from us! Cannot wait to see you again. So glad your recovery is going nicely.
Smooch smooch smooch........
Nude matt:
June 9, 2009
Wow thats crazy news Lis!!! Im glad that you are on the road to recovery. Must of been pretty scary for you both. All the best.
Nate:
June 10, 2009
Each interaction with you reminds me why you are one of my closest and best friends. I too am happy you're alive.
Kim:
June 29, 2009
Hi Lis
I am Andy's cousin Kim. I love your blog. You write so well, and I hear you speaking, as if it were me when I first went outside of the US when I was 28. But, even after visiting 42 countries, I still don't have the answers, in fact, I have even more questions. But that is the challenge of learning, you end up opening yourself up to many more questions.
I just shared your blog and Natalie and Robs with Andy's brothers and Sisters. I wasn't sure if they all had seen it. We kind of have had a family reunion via facebook, so we are trying to get more family members to join. It is such a great venue to share information and in one week of corresponding with Rox, Sandy, David and Jay, I know more of what they have done in one week, than I knew what they did in 20.
So, just wanted to say hi and thanks for sharing the Blog.
Love to you and Andy.
Kim
Leia Syvertson:
July 9, 2009
Hi sweet um's. Thinking of you wake boarding, swimming, reading books in the hammock, family dinners... sweet, sweet cabin time in the Minnesota woods.

Love you hon.

Leia
September 10, 2009
Hi Lis and Andy...just stumbled on your blog by accident today. We are wowed by your experience right where we live here in Ecuador! We hope that Lis is fully recovered now, and that you still have favorable thoughts about this wonderful country. To turn it around, Lis was facing a life threatening crisis, and the doctors in La LIbertad diagnosed it and fixed her up. You didn't mention that the cost for this was probably about 5 percent of what those same procedures would have cost in the US. Anyway, good luck in the future--your blog is great...
You might be interested in our take on Ecuador:
Http://www.bobnrox.squarespace.com/journal
Stay strong...

Bob & Roxanne
Manglaralto, Ecuador
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