Trip Start Nov 06, 2003
87Trip End Jan 24, 2004
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The sun is invisible for six entire days on our return, peaking out for all of 9 seconds by Thursday afternoon. It's dark when I wake up; it's dark when I eat supper. In the middle of the week, I turn 40 and get the (first) huge credit card bill for the trip.
I have a sense of putting my slippers on the wrong feet -- familiar and uncomfortable. I want to step back out again. I want to swap these stark, bare trees and colourlessness land for the heat of summer, the humidity that makes a woman lift her hair to let a breath of cool air along her neckline.
But there are rewards for being back. On the first night, we step through the door to find that relatives and neighbours have left food and welcome cards on the kitchen counter. The place is immaculate and there are line-ups of greetings on the answering machine. The sun breaks out on Friday and we walk across the park to Fairfield to visit my Auntie Dot. We drink tea, eat cakes and talk about places we've been.
It's now a year to the day since our return. The sun came out today and coaxed the snowdrops open. Daffodils will soon be blossoming. Julie called out while having a bath tonight. "You know, I'm really impressed I managed to keep my toenails polished so nicely for the whole trip."
I'd like to end this travelogue on a better note than the complaints of the last flight and the first shock of being home. I'd like to leave with an expression of gratitude to all those who harboured us, who made us feel so welcome in their homes and countries. If I could recall dialogue better, you'd all be more prominent on these pages. Thank you all!