HOME [For The Holiday]

Over Thanksgiving I was back in South Dakota for the first time in eleven months. I had a lot of anxiety going into the trip, I have never been away from home that long in my life. I was worried about how we would possibly be able to see everyone we wanted to see without spending a bunch of time away from my parents. I was fearful that there would be way too many people in my parent's house at the same time and I would lose my shit. I had all sorts of worry thoughts revolving around what the hell I would do if I saw people I no longer talked to or was friends with. Typical anxiety brain was running full speed ahead and I was very mindful of that, doing what I could to keep myself regulated.

Packing was stressful, as it always is. When you live in a warm climate and have to pack to go to a cold climate it really cuts down on the amount you are able to over pack. For me, this is both good and bad. Good because I don't need to over pack, bad because I have anxiety and always think I will forget something important. I had to keep telling myself that we would be at my parent's house the entire time and my mom has anything I could have possibly forgotten to bring with me. We got to the airport two hours earlier than we needed to, so about three hours ahead of our flight time. To me the waiting time at the airport goes quickly so that wasn't an issue for me. My first real test came after we boarded the plane, the cabin door was closed so we could depart, and then we didn't. And the cabin door opened. And we sat. For a very long time we sat, waiting. Matthew had his nose in a book so he had no idea that something strange was happening. Eventually they told us they were investigating would could've been a "hole" in the nose of the plane. Two hours later we left Austin and made it to our connecting flight with less than an hour to spare. So much for overpriced airport beers and our first meal of the day. We landed in Sioux Falls about 15 minuets early and we were heading to the baggage claim. My brother was supposed to be outside waiting for us and we, almost literally, rain into my mom and dad! I didn't  know they were riding with to pick us up! Our vacation was finally beginning!

My mom's brother and his family were supposed to come for Thanksgiving but for some reason or another they didn't. With them not coming it was just us five along with my sister's boyfriend and his two little guys. It was a pretty relaxing day with a much different feel to it having kids around! All of my worry about the house being full was a waste of energy (shocker) and the day went just fine. We ate, drank, played cards, and solved all of the world's problems.

Friday was our day to see as many people as we could. I was nervous about this because I didn't know what our full plan was . I didn't know who was going to be available when or if they were willing to come to us. We were able to start the day catching up with my friend Sucaad. Sucaad is a Somalian (Muslim) refugee. She is an amazing lady in her 20s who was stuck with me as her case coordinator when she was unknowingly re routed to South Dakota. I picked her up at the airport on a Friday night  when she expected a male named Yusuf. I had a goofy interpreter with me who spoke to her in her native language. She replied, in perfect English, "Is this Minnesota?" The rest is history and I have had a special place in my heart from her ever since. She welcomed me and Matthew into her home as strangers and has does treated us no less than anyone else she calls friends or family. She made me more cups of team than I could even count. She taught me how to make Somalian rice. She trusted me to lead her down a positive path and ensure she was safe with all of her basic needs. She introduced me to her friends and family via Facetime. She spoke more highly of me than I ever have of myself. Matthew and I had the pleasure of spending two hours with her in a beautiful house that she single handedly worked her butt off to make a home. She made us lunch. She took us to her mom's house. Her mom gave us, from her own closet, traditional African clothing as a gift. Eventually our day took us to Matthew's best friend and my best friends. All I can say about the rest of our night was it was one for the books. We were all able to pick up where we left off like it hadn't been months since we were together. I laughed SO much that night. It was another affair I had a lot of anxiety over that ended up being something I will remember for a long time. The last people on our list were my absolute favorites! My bestest friend, her stellar husband, and their spunky little love muffins. Catching up with them is always one of my favorites. We could sit and talk for hours and it feels like minutes.

The rest of  our time home was spent with family doing things we love; listening to records, playing card games, drinking beer, and shootin' the shit! We even watched a couple of movies! Getting back to Austin proved to be just as stressful as getting home, but in the end everything worked out. It was so good to be home and spend quality time with my family but it also felt good to come back to the warm sunshine that is Austin.

Stay tuned for my transition back from vacation to reality...

Home is where the heart is — one cliche that is absolutely true.:


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