I have to be honest, I don’t really miss the States. Sure, I miss my family, but I didn’t see my parents any more when I lived in Philadelphia. And now we have Skype! I have been candid about missing work and my job, but that’s an emptiness that I know is only temporary. I do miss my friends… but have made great ones here too.
Maybe it’s because we have only been here for a little over eight months. Maybe the European life style just fits us nicely? All I know is if we were transferred back to the States tomorrow, someone would have to drag me out of Antwerp. And I’d be kicking and screaming.
That said, I will always miss Montana when summer rolls around.
Some places just sit in our hearts. For me, that place is Whitefish, Montana. Summer and Whitefish go hand in hand. It’s a destination that feels so remote, like being in another country all together. It’s the small town feel and the relaxed attitude of the locals. It’s the sense of security and innocence I get from watching the kids ride their bikes through the neighborhood, so completely care-free. It’s the blue skies, and the vast mountain range.
And when you factor in the travel time flying in from the East Coast, it actually is like traveling to another country.
Sitting here in our Antwerp apartment, with the sun finally shining in my window, I can easily day dream about mornings at the cabin in Whitefish. My Dad will have two pots of coffee brewing, one decaf for him, and one regular for the rest of us. He’ll be out on the sunny back deck, catching up on emails before shutting down work for the day. The air will have a cool bite to it, but the blue skies will promise a warmer afternoon.
Meanwhile, my mom will still be snoozing, making sure to get in her eight hours of sleep. Me and any other house guests will slowly rise, probably because someone is making noise in the kitchen (note, you can hear everything in a house made of logs). Over breakfast we’ll plan our day, and by 11am or so we’re ready to tackle the outdoors.
Over the years a few things have changed. The cabin has grown in size. Clearly, I am no longer bringing various boyfriends out there for the summer. I sleep in the main guest room with my husband, rather than in the bunks with my brother. Pictures on the walls have been added, framing new friends and family members .
But, it all still pretty much feels the same. I’m still usually the youngest in the house. My dad will still make us breakfast of steak and eggs with the left overs from a massive steak dinner. My mom still plays solitaire every night on the kitchen island. My grandparents still come over for cocktail hour (they have a condo only a few miles away). We always hike Big Mountain, at least once that trip. I take a day to fly fish with my Dad…
We start dinner way too late and don’t end up eating until 10pm. Luckily everyone has lost track of time by then, and no one cares. We all usually eat too much, but if we haven’t then there’s s’mores by the fire. Mom lets us know that the night has officially come to an end by heading up to bed. Dad tries to rally the troops for a late night swim in the lake. He’s actually more successful with that these days. Who says age brings wisdom?
Having our wedding in Whitefish last year, Montana is filled with even more beautiful memories now. Still with the same feel, but even more love. I guess I’ve become nostalgic lately because I know my parents are heading to Whitefish in the next week or so. Garrett and I have opted to travel in Europe this year rather than go to one of our homes in the States. And, I’m not sad about it. The great thing is Montana will always be there.
The days in Antwerp are very long now, and the nights here can feel like those in Montana. Garrett and I inevitably end up eating later and staying up later because the sun is fooling us. We are looking forward to spending time with people we love, and enjoying more adventures in new countries.
So for now, Montana is keeping safe in my heart. Tucked away for the next visit. I know it will be even sweeter than I remember.