Square inches and sweet sadness.

If Europe has taught me anything, it has taught me to pack light because you will be walking with your bags and will wish you hadn’t brought the heavy things.. It’s taught me that every square inch in my bag is necessary, so yes, we’ll consolidate pills into one container so that you get three more inches. That way you can bring shampoo and conditioner.

Of course, you need your toothbrush, but two pairs of shoes is plenty for a week of travel. You can be a vagabond for a while. Vagabond, meaning that you don’t take all your colors of eyeshadow, bring one lipstick instead of two, don’t pack the kitchen sink, and plan to re-wear everything you bring at least once (except undies).

I feel kind of vagabondish today because I’ve been running all over Austria with my parents over the past week. I took the train to meet them in Salzburg, rushed around pointing at all the dirndls I wanted,


Ooooohed and aaaaahed over the gorgeous views around every corner,DSCN5745

And was ultra-touristy.DSCN5788Then we went off to Vienna, where we had another whirlwind adventure, seeing old stuff up close,


and from up high,


And eating… duh. You knew that was coming.DSCN5896

And holding up bags that have cake in them in front of the Hofberg palace.DSCN5898It’s still not over.

Then we went back to Graz, drank coffee at my favorite café by Uni,DSCN5906

ate amazing street food outside a lot,DSCN5907

saw another palace because we just hadn’t had enough,


and made friends with the peacocks that roamed the grounds.
DSCN5929That’s just the nutshell version. We also went to Slovenia for a picnic, because you can do that kind of stuff in Europe.

There was so much joy in the past week, so many new images stored away into our brains. It should have been enough for my heart to have 7 days and let my parents fly back home today without any fuss.

But of course, you can’t tell your heart when and when not to fuss.

I’ve been the one leaving, the one being picked up, and the one picking up, but I’m rarely the one dropping off. Today, I dropped my parents off at the airport, knowing that they would enter a plane soon afterwards that would take them to Minnesota. I hugged them both, then hugged them again because it wasn’t enough to just have one (when you’re away from home, you never know where your next hug is coming from). I played the mother and told them to text me at every juncture, then waved them off to security before I lost it.

It’s easy to say hello. It’s so hard to say goodbye. Not because we didn’t have a good time, not because I feel like I’ll never see them again, but just because “parting is such sweet sorrow” (Thank you, Shakespeare). Sweet because the sadness means we love each other, sweet because we plan to see each other in two and a half isn months. Sad because it just is, because there’ll be a gap between us.

For now, I pour my energies into packing into the red and pink bags, the ones that will clash so terribly as I walk through train stations and airports tomorrow. I’ll make myself an omelet because that’s what the grocery supply dictates, and I’ll watch Parenthood and be thankful for mine.


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