Everyone always talks about struggling with jetlag, but no one ever really prepared me for what an absolute BITCH it would be. I mean, it was bad enough on the trip there. But coming home was even worse.
It’s almost 4am now and I still can’t get to sleep, no matter how hard I try. But, to be honest, I’m kind of starting to wonder if it could be more than just the jetlag… I’ve had a lot on my mind too. I just can’t stop thinking about everything that happened over the past two weeks. It was such an amazing trip, from the moment we arrived.
Willow Creek is a beautiful town. Quiet. Peaceful. Cozy, you could almost say. Definitely compared to Windenburg, at least. Some of my favorite moments of the trip were taking long walks after dinner.
No crowds of tourists to deal with. No obnoxious partiers stumbling down the street to the nearest bar. And if you did happen to run into someone, they were always so warm and friendly. Easy to talk to. It was a nice change from back home.
And it wasn’t just Willow Creek. One of the highlights was definitely our little detour to Newcrest. We got to visit so many places our grandfather’s told us about over the years – The library, his mother’s art gallery, his grandfather’s restaurant… Tobi and I have heard about them all. But seeing them in person was completely different. It really kinda hit me, I guess. This is my family’s history. And me and Tobi… Well, now we’re carrying on their legacy.
I’d never really given much thought to my ancestors before, really. I mean, we’ve all read grandpa’s book. We’ve heard the stories. But being there in that churchyard… it made everything feel real. Y’know? It was like… I could feel them or something. And I couldn’t help but wonder what they’d think if they could see us now…
I know, I know. I’m being ridiculous. Tobi made a point to remind me of that… More than once.
Anyway, it was definitely one of my favorite parts of the trip, and grandpa certainly loved hearing all about it when we got back. But visiting Newcrest wasn’t the real reason we were there. This was about seeing Willow Creek. And meeting Josh’s family.
I already knew they would be great – all those emails and phone calls leading up to the trip made me sure of that. But it was still awesome to finally see them for myself, in person. They were all so nice. And so easy to talk to. I loved getting to know them. And I know Tobi did too.
But honestly? My favorite person we met wasn’t even part of Josh’s immediate family. It was his cousin, Luc.
He’s the head of genetic research for a big biotechnology company out of Riverview. I almost couldn’t believe it when he told me – I mean, the guy is basically living my dream. Doing experiments, running tests, publishing research, and most importantly, making a difference.
I won’t lie, I was pretty damn jealous. But I couldn’t stop listening, and I had so many stupid questions. I talked the poor guy’s ear off all through dinner at Hadley’s.
He laughed when I asked if they happened to have a branch in Windenburg that was hiring. I don’t think he realized I was being serious, at first. Then I explained to him what a hard time I was having finding a job back home. Turns out they have the opposite problem around here – those kind of job openings go unfilled for months.
“It’s a shame you’re so far away.” Luc told me. “We actually have a few openings at my lab.”
Yeah… Too bad.
Anyway, the trip really seemed to fly by. And when it was finally time to go home, well… it was a lot harder to leave than I thought it would be. I didn’t think I’d miss Willow Creek so much until it was time to head back home.
I mean, don’t get me wrong. I missed Clara and the twins. I missed Auggy. I missed grandpa and vovó. I missed Colette and Mama. I even missed Jonas.
But I didn’t miss Windenburg.
Not one bit.