It’s a tricky business, being away from home for so long.
The last two weeks have been especially hard, since we are staying somewhere that doesn’t have internet access. To write this post, I had to walk around a lake and sit at a small table in the lobby of the vacation park where we have rented a bungalow. The bungalow is fabulous, but not having Wi-Fi is killing us. (I apologize to everyone for being incommunicado for so long. What little time we get online has to go to either Quinland’s homework or to travel planning. Next week should be better.)
This bungalow is 125 square meters, or about 1250 square feet. This is ENORMOUS! Besides three bedrooms (a big bonus!), we have a mud room, a dining room with a big table, a storage closet, and even a patio with patio furniture. The kitchen is fully equipped, even down to vases for the flowers we purchase at the village open-air markets. (It is the Netherlands, after all.)
I am amused by how fun it is to keep house in this bungalow. I am enamored of the little kitchen with its four-of-everything crockery and silverware, and of having a broom closet filled with cleaning supplies. It makes me happy to get out a broom and sweep the floor, and know that I have a dustpan and whisk broom – and a lidded trash can – to finish the job properly. I like having my own salt-and-pepper shakers and my own little box of Ziploc bags. I like making the beds and folding the clean clothes and making everything neat and tidy.
Traveling like this, for so long, has really made me appreciate space. Space not just to spread out, but space to put things away. Having the mud room to keep all our empty suitcases in has been a dream come true after having them in the room with us for sixteen weeks. It makes it seem more like we are living, instead of just traveling.
The three of us seem to have hit some sort of wall this week. We are weary of all the transitions. We have moved ten times in sixteen weeks, and it is really just too much. Staying in one place – especially here in Nijmegen, where we are having a wonderful time – is so attractive, but we don’t have the luxury of doing that in any Schengen country as we are rapidly running out of days. I suppose it is just another way that the trip will help us appreciate being home that much more when we finally get there.
How do you make yourself feel more at home when you are on the road? Does it help to put your suitcases out of sight? Or do you take it easy and just let everything explode everywhere, as we have done in a few places? Sometimes, when a place is too small, there hardly seems to be a difference between “put away” and “not put away,” right? I’m getting a little nervous for Paris, where I know that our place will be less than half the size of this one! Yikes!
I’m grateful for the hospitality of the Dutch! What an amazing welcome we have received here. It was so nice to spend time with our friend Dick and his family, here on their home turf.