Almost two weeks ago my husband, Roy, and I set out for a nine-day trip in my hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. I was kind of torn going back. On the one hand I looked forward to seeing some of my dearest, on the other hand Nebraska is just a hotbed of awful memories and reminders. And who needs that? To top it all off, I turned 32 and my birthday has its own set of triggers. It was very much a “prepare for the worst, hope for the best” situation – except there was just no way to prepare.
Luckily, the trip turned out pretty well. No one died. No one screamed. No ugly flashbacks or other PTSD symptoms that can creep up when triggered (or more likely when you least expect them to). I got to see everyone I wanted to see. I got to eat at the places I wanted to eat. And I nearly did everything I wanted to do. (A few activities were pushed, but they’ll still be there next time.)
I want to say it was laidback, and it was if that is code for “unplanned until the very last minute”. We never seemed to know what we were doing until the very last minute (most of my friends are not planners) so in that way it was laidback. However it was also always, “Go! Go! Go!”
Normally I would write all about my visit and everything we did, everyone we saw. But truthfully, I am still exhausted and off from the trip, but realized it’s been too long since I last wrote. So consider this the cliff notes version.
*I saw one of my best (and first major) friend from college. We had lunch, and I wish we did more but I knew better than to try to hog her. She lives in Japan, teaching English to kids there. She gets back to the states rarely (once every few years) and I haven’t seen her since 2006!!! We had a great time, and I missed her as soon as we said goodbye. Maybe we can meet up again in another two to three years instead of ten!
*We went to the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo which is basically the best zoo ever. I would never go out of my way to say anything nice about Nebraska (I’ve discussed this so many times, I hate the place and just go back for the people who still happen to live there) so for me to say they have the best anything is a big deal and you know it must be true. It has changed SO MUCH since the last time we went. You can’t do everything in one day! (Although, you know we did because I’m a badass and my husband can put up with it for a day. We got there ten minutes after opening, only had quick snacks, no lunch and left at closing, but we did everything. So now what, bitches? 😛 )
*Reconnected with an old teacher who is much more than that to me. (She was always there growing up, she got me into reading, writing, was the first person to really encourage me and then ended up being my next door neighbor a few years later for several years. When I was sick she was part of my core support network driving me to the Cancer Center etc. So yeah, much more.) We had a great visit, one that was long overdue!
*We visited my college campus with my BFF Crystal. We got to see the Women’s Center, which was where I practically lived during college and I got to see a lot of groups and programs I was a part of really take off. (I was in charge of campus education for the relationship violence prevention group and am amazed by what they’ve been up to and how they’ve expanded in the last ten years.) It was so great to go back!
*Two of our friends got us into PokemonGo. Lord help us.
*Roy organized a surprise birthday dinner for me. It was so sweet and everyone I love was there, all of my closest friends, siblings, etc. I know it wasn’t easy for him because A) he is not a planner, not even a little – he agrees and B) it is hard for him to keep a secret when it comes to happy things like this. He told me, “Every time you said goodbye to someone and was like ‘Oh, I’m sad I won’t see you again this trip’ I wanted to say, ‘Yes, you will!’”
*I got to see my sister again for the first time in four years. This is such a big deal, and something I hope for every trip and something that has never happened before. My relationship with my sister is complicated because I feel like I get in my own way by trying to protect her from certain truths but I have missed her so much over the years. It took all of my will power to not pinch myself or burst into tears simultaneously.
*A lot of quality time with my family including all of my brothers, I wouldn’t have traded any of it for the world.
And that was our trip. Like I said before, it was wonderful and with being seriously sleep deprived and off going into it and all of the other reasons I’ve already mentioned, it’s a relief and a surprise. Looks like we can take a longer trip to Nebraska without a major crisis. In fact, such a trip might be nicer than a fly-by weekend. We can actually enjoy the people we’re seeing instead of rushing off to the next person.
Now, if I can get myself back on track and out of this post-trip blah-ness everything would be perfect.
Thanks for being kind Nebraska. Thanks to all of my friends and family who made the visit special. And most of all thanks to my husband who planned, plotted, seriously sneaked but also was down to roll with it in spite of being so sleep deprived himself. Maybe next time we travel, we’ll be better rested. 😛