We’re back. Now what?

It’s been a little over two weeks since we returned from our trip. The first few days were a bit cloudy in our heads. Despite transitioning to the west by way of Ireland and Germany coming home was not an easy thing to do.

For weeks now this question had been running through our minds: “Now what?” But the thing is, coming back to one of the busiest cities in the world is an adventure unto itself.

Sure we have big plans and we’ll continue to write and hint at what we’re working on in the “real world” pipeline but our immediate thoughts when we landed were: What will we need to do when we get home to get it ready to live in? When can we get the cat from Tracie’s Mom? What is there to eat? And who’s around in the dog days of summer to say hello?

Once we made the epic trip from JFK, via the Airtrain and then the A train, we were spit out onto the boiling hot pavement of Fulton Park. When we’d left over five months ago the trees were barren of leaves and the ground was slick with slush and black ice. The green enveloped us and welcomed us home.

It was Thursday and the neighborhood was fairly quiet. I mean why the hell would anyone in their right minds be out in this weather? It was a sit under the shade and sip an ice cold lemonade kind of day.

We lurched down our fair streets and found our landlord and upstairs neighbor Tim and our neighbor from across the street Ray hanging out on the stoop.

We were home. Despite the adventures it was a good feeling seeing friendly familiar faces. Ray and Tim were almost as excited as us to have us back. We spent a little time catching up and headed inside to assess the afternoon’s work ahead.

Tim had opened the windows and turned on the fans to welcome us as I thought he might and we dropped our stuff and started our visual inventory. No matter what saint you find to stay in your furnished apartment you’ll find things get joggled around. It felt weird. It was clean. It was still our stuff, but someone had definitely lived there these past months. My thoughts went to how it must have felt on his first day, perhaps not the same but similar.

How do we accumulate so much shit in our lives? As we looked around we saw all the things we left behind and glanced over at these bags we’d dragged around and we couldn’t help but be a dumbstruck. And then to think we stowed more shit downstairs? Why do we hold to such things? We would have to sort that out later.

We were hungry. The phone rang and our friend Stepha said she’d be in the neighborhood. Stepha dropped by a short bit later a saved us from the horrorfest of unpacking with some Mexican ice pops and seltzer water. To keep the Mexican theme rolling we headed over to a little taqueria under the Broadway underpass in Bushwick.  Fat and sassy we headed home our late lunch sent us back by just after five pm we had to stay up and readjust to the time change.

The next few days were a flurry of cooking, unpacking, emailing, unpacking, cleaning, and reorganizing. Saturday we headed over to Tracie’s Mom’s to stay the night and bring back Dexter.

We spent the night there, he seemed stand offish but was laying with us in the morning. We noticed he was breathing a little funny, we thought he was upset. Anthropomorphizing we told ourselves later. We brought him home Sunday and his breathing got worse as the day went on and before we realized he was sick he was close to already gone. He struggled with us as we tried to take him for help and passed away in Tracie’s lap in Tim’s car.

RIP ‘Lil Guy

It was a shock for us. The little guy was an anchor to our world back home. He was the tie that bound many of our family conversations. He was like the photos of us that everybody preferred over the stories of our travels. To come back and have an empty house. We didn’t know what to do. In fact I’m a little sad now just thinking about the empty house we are on the train back towards. No one to fend off at the door. It was a reality check to our reality check.

We gradually pulled ourselves together and headed off to the NOFA Organic Farmer’s conference in Massachusetts the following weekend. We were determined to keep the momentum going from our trip. Keep hope alive. We are not stepping back into the work or die lifestyle that we have lived before we left. We came back to do something. We came back to take our lives back.

The conference was insightful we made some new friends and we headed off to Boston for a nice visit with friends and a wonderful book launch for a new friend Jeff Potter’sCooking for Geeks“. The conference, the time with friends and the hope in new success sent us back home inspired and ready. (Help support Jeff’s book tour!!!)

Jeff signing the first book of the evening




2 thoughts on “We’re back. Now what?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Glad to hear that you guys are readjusting ok. It doesn’t seem that you have reverse culture shock (which I suffered through when I got home from Berlin…Mom and Ba took me directly to Flushing of all places). I’m still sad about Dexter too, but I’m glad to hear that you are keeping busy and trying to move on. Hopefully you guys keep up the blog on a regular basis. After all, it IS called a Surlee Voyage and your voyage hasn’t ended yet, right? 🙂

  2. Julie Lee says:

    After being away for five months it will take a little bite of time to readjust. Good thing you don’t have a job to go to; that would be even tougher to go back. I totally know how that empty feeling felt when you go home everyday. You probably still sees Dexter comes to the door and ready to run out; silly cat! We should be happy and grateful that he gave us so many happy memories. Yes, we all have to move on; that’s what life is all about. Life is a journey that fills with happy and sad moments. We are our own writer to our life stories. I know you and Tracie’s life journey will fill with happy and wonderful stories. I agree with Sannie that your Voyage just begin and it will never end.

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