After 580 days (but who’s counting), I finally traveled again. I could have gone anywhere…and by anywhere I mean the limited number of places that a German resident and American citizen can travel hassle free. There are a lot of places I’d like to see and any destination would be better than one more minute looking at the inside of my apartment.

But the choice was simple…home to my family and friends.

Home to Baby Pancake who I hadn’t met yet and only heard rumors about how cute she is. Bee Tee Dubs…the rumors are true.

Home to my sister and my nibs (my word for nephews and nieces)…where my inability to make choices because I’ve made all the decisions for the last 18 months is acceptable behavior and I can just go along for the ride on all the things.

Home to roads I know without needing Madam Google’s help…except I might never learn how to get to West Seattle without the bridge being open even though I literally know every backroad on this side of the city because I used to use them to AVOID the West Seattle bridge.

Home to my favorite coffee shop…where I’d totally write the rest of my novel (since I wrote most of the 1st half of it with my ass in the exact seat I’m sitting in) if I was going to be here for more than 45 mins.

Home to the Island that stole my heart and never ceases to make me feel at home…I love you Whidbey and I’d like to apologize for the fickle nature of my heart. (I could live in Coupeville. I could live in Langely. I could live in Freeland. I could live in Oak Harbor. I could live right here by this ferry dock. I apparently could live on any square foot of that island and be just fine.)

Home to my friends and family…who KNOW me. One of the toughest things about the last 2 years has been the loss of friends because of changing jobs or covid bubbles or people moving away or hell, just growing apart because it’s been too damn hard to stay connected when I can’t do one more damn zoom call or I’ll die of video chat poisoning (It’s a thing I think).

Being known is something every single one of us needs.
– We need to be offered our favorite drink-whiskey, IPA, coffee with the bad-for-you creamer!
– We need for people to say “How are your friends Andrew and Millie since they moved back to Australia?” because MY PEOPLE WERE LISTENING to me talk about missing The Shelts.
– We need people who ask “How is it going with The Julians?” because they know if they ask me how we (a travel startup) are holding up in the pandemic, I might just power down and take a nap.
– We need people to say things like “I can’t wait to hug you”…because there is no question about whether or not we will hug. There will be hugging. Long, touch-hungry hugging between people who would risk life and limb to hug one another because that’s what it means to choose each other (oh and because my friends aren’t dummies and are vaccinated).

So yes, Berlin…I’m coming back. After all, my cats are there. And my work. And for this season, my life. And thank you Seattle, Portland, Whidbey, and my people for the reminder that to make a life anywhere involves being open to being known.

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