Today is my last full day in New Brunswick, and I've snuck away to the sitting room for a few minutes of silence. In other parts of the house, my almost-90-year-old grandmother is playing classic show tunes on the piano, my aunt is spinning tales while chopping a seemingly endless pile of vegetables, and my Mom is laughing at my aunt while frying 5 pounds of scallops* for Coquilles Saint-Jacques. While I know that these are the sounds of life and love and family, I do find myself pining for the relative quiet of the one-bedroom apartment that I share with my love (and two asshole felines).
As it's almost the end of my trip, rather than recount the details of my travel that are interesting to no one but myself, I thought I'd share a few observations that I've made in my time away from home.
1) I hate being away from my girlfriend: She stayed back at home because of work (and being hesitant to meet all of my family simultaneously at a wedding), and I have missed her every single day. I miss rolling over to stare at her in the morning, waiting for her to wake up so that I can cuddle with her and tell her my dreams. I miss coming home to her at night and hearing about her day. I miss spending way too much time cooking supper with her and then being too lazy to clean up the kitchen afterwards. I'm clearly smitten.
2) I am unquestionably an introvert: My Maritime family is large...and loud. There is always someone around, and they are usually moving at top speed within a cloud of noise and chaos. As much as I love them, my introverted self has found it a bit overwhelming, and I've had to hide away from people on a regular basis. My Mom and I spent three nights alone at my grandmother's cottage, and I could feel myself recharging in the stillness and quiet.
3) I pack too much stuff when I travel: I had planned to go more minimalist and pack only my medium-sized suitcase (from a set of three), but my Mom asked me to bring out the largest one so that she could "bring some stuff back with her". No longer constrained by space, I found myself throwing in all kinds of things I was never going to use - a second dress (getting me into a dress for a wedding is miracle enough), a fourth pair of shoes, multiple pairs of dress pants. It's ridiculous, especially because we've changed location five times in ten days, and I've had to carry the stupidly heavy suitcase up and down multiple flights of stairs. In the future, I'm bringing one outfit and washing it in the sink every night.
4) I need very little to be happy: My vacation has included lots of exciting things, like trips to Peggy's Cove and Lunenburg, a tour of an artisinal distillery, and many fancy meals out. My favourite moments though? Waking up to the sounds of shorebirds outside my bedroom window. Cuddling with my cousin's adorable one-year-old daughter. Lying on the couch where my grandfather used to nap every day after lunch. When traveling in the future, I need to remember that it's the simple things that I most enjoy.
And now the doorbell has rung, bringing another group of relatives into the home. Time for me to make nice and play the extrovert for a while**.
*The scallops were supposed to have been taken home with us and eaten over weeks to months, but there was a malfunction of the system to keep them frozen, so instead we're binge-eating scallops. Life is hard.
**I was going to include photos, but I think my Mom will kill me if I hide away any longer. A photo post is coming soon!