Visiting or coming home? It’s always a bit of both. You’re not in your home, but you are at home. You know where everything is, feel comfortable helping yourself to the biscuits, and sleep a settled slumber in a familiar bed. Yet it’s bookmarked by two flights and requires you to live out of a bag, like any visit to any where.
There’s lots of people to see, to meet even, thanks to new additions as families grow. You’re here, there, and everywhere, drowning in cups of tea and slices of cake.
Weeks of anticipation before, with plans and the carving up of time, seem to come and go in the blink of an eye and unfold in a familiar pattern. The first few days are all buzz and constant chatter, the excitement of the visit dominating. Then, the pace slows as you transition from visitors to part of the furniture, back to comfortable routines, where you can sit quietly and enjoy peaceful company.
The days merge with the miles covered, the lunches out, the home – cooked dinners, and the hugs and kisses of greetings and goodbyes. Time rushes on, whisking you through different living rooms and everyone’s news.
Then, two weeks in, as the end draws near, belongings are strewn about the place, causing the same annoyance as they did when teenage you was still at home. What came in one case must go back into the same one case, minus a few gifts plus a few gains. There’s always more to go back somehow, usually the Yorkshire tea or the Cadbury’s chocolate, tucked into corners or squashed into hand luggage, a bit of home to go back with you.
Finally, on that last evening, you see it clearly, the visit has become the move home, however temporary. You feel safe and happy and don’t want to leave. You can’t remember why you ever did. Deep down you know, when the plane touches down, and you walk back through your own front door, you’ll be fine and quickly settled. Ready for the next visit, the next trip home. Still, tonight, two weeks hasn’t seemed long enough. One visit takes you back to years gone by. No time left leaves you hugging a little tighter and wondering about next time, about the next visit home.