The Journey Returns Home

The journey home has been stretching and filled with joy. We have been home for almost two months now. At times the reality of the adventure seems so far away. Yet a day hardly goes by in which we don’t reference the incredible hospitality of Mohammed from Luxor, Spyros from Athens, the Gils from Milan or Stephanie from Tuscany. We have been deeply impacted by the cultures we’ve lived in, the people who invited us into their lives, and our time together as a family. We came upon this quote from Mark Twain while staying with our friends in Oxford, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” It has proved true for us. We live in a great big wonder-full world. We will never be the same.

And even though we are “home” our journey continues. Here are a few excerpts of in-the-moment writing since we’ve been home.

I just got back from coffee with Donald Johanson. Yes, the same one that I met in Les Eyzies-Tayac. We talked for two hours before I had to rush off to do a home visit with one of my new students.

I’m back on campus. My room looks good, but nothing is where I thought it should be and many things are missing. And my school feels different. Everyone seems a bit more harried, somewhat scattered, less prepared than I remember in the past.

I write this from the comforts of my classroom in Santa Barbara, California. Students are busily reading, working on vocabulary, writing reflections. It is the first week of school and quite possibly the only time I am not hurrying about the room helping kids with their work. They are settling in. What a great group this year! And in spite of the fact that there is a two to one ratio of girls to boys, it’s almost peaceful.

It’s the next morning 6:15 am, and I have ridden my bike to The Coffee Bean to meet with a friend before classes begin. Dark, foggy, early, but when else can I get a few moments with a friend without too many interruptions? Several acquaintances and other teachers I know stop to say hello as I write.

We just got back to our house after spending the morning with a group of church leaders helping raise environmental awareness. The response to our tiny presentation was overwhelmingly good. We are excited and a bit overwhelmed about upcoming opportunities. This is very energizing.

I look forward to a continued sharing of what we learned and continue to learn along the way. To those of you interested in the ancient civilization student curriculum projects I have created from the 9,100+ photos and video clips I’ve collected, I will post a link and instructions on how to upload these in an upcoming blog entry.