Please Don’t Ask Me “How Was Your Trip?”

As I’m nearing the end of my time in Brazil, I am preparing to journey home and take in all of the family and friends that only the holiday season and weddings can bring together.

My senses are overloaded just thinking about it. The taste of the light hint of butter on my sister’s creamy mashed potatoes mixed with the hearty smell of fresh roasted homegrown turkey has my mouth watering. The sound of screaming and cursing at one another between laughs has me wishing I had a deck of cards and partners to play Euchre right now. I can’t wait for it all…well mostly all of it.

Being away for almost a year is a great reason to catch up with everyone. So much can change over 9 months, in fact, there could be new humans that weren’t even imagined yet! There have been deaths in the family, there have been new relationships, there have been ended relationships. Everyone is just as curious about me as I am about them. However, I suppose my situation seems a little more exotic.

The one question that I found frustrating the last few times I’ve moved home from being abroad is:

“How was your trip?”

It wasn’t a trip, it will never have been a trip. It makes it sound as if I’m returning from a small vacation. Two weeks in a resort or a cabin is a trip, a vacation. Over nine months of paying rent, buying groceries, going to work…that’s a life. Granted, I did take trips within my time abroad, but I crafted a life in Brazil, again. I could tell you the best sushi place to eat, and also the cheaper one that is just as good and has a waitstaff that treats us like family. I could tell you how the trees changed as summer faded into “winter” and back again. My time gone could have passed like the blink of an eye for you…it did for me too, but it was also a lifetime. It was challenging and overwhelming. It was bright, new and brilliant.

I’m not asking you to avoid inquiring about my time abroad, but I do want you to understand that it was in no way a trip. Let’s not simplify the experience of living in a new country, in a different language, to a two week relaxing vacation. It was so much more than that…so much more than any trip I’ve ever been on.

Next time you see me, feel free to start with:

“Hey! How was Brazil?”

And you can expect some sort of excited answer about the good, the bad, the ugly, and the wonderful of living in one of my favorite countries!


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