The Last Souvenir

August 9, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Posted in Giggles, Transylvania | 12 Comments
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Before the sun and the commuters woke up this morning, we were buckled in the car and headed down the highway, soaking in the smell of my husband’s cinnamon-raisin bagel and the sounds of Pink. Giggles sat in the back, still and mostly silent, holding his favorite stuffed mouse and electric! blue! blanket!

In two short hours, we would have the last souvenir from our fantastic, sometimes frustrating, occasionally frantic year in Romania.

Not a postcard. Or a magnet. Or a bag of fluorescent, exotic-tasting candy.

 

Just two small pins. Fresh from Giggles’ humerus and a quick spin in the autoclave.

When the surgeon handed them to me, they clacked and clicked in the sturdy plastic jar. But that barely audible, innocuous sound shook my eardrums and my heartstrings like a bass drum.

This was it. We’d unpacked the boxes. Registered for preschool and kindergarten and a new library card. Eaten our weight in Eggos. And now, we’d fixed the broken arm. Deductible paid. X-rays complete. File closed.

File. Closed.

And not just on our bizarre medical history from the last year, but on our Romanian life.

Our Romanian life.

If I didn’t have two stainless steel, child-sized K-wires and a stack of X-rays in three different languages piled high on the kitchen table, I’d marvel at those surreal words — our Romanian life.

Really?

Where we really there? What will we remember? And how long until we forget?

Does your life ever feel surreal to you? What do you remember from your own life-changing experiences? And do you have any souvenirs like ours?

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12 Comments »

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  1. Yes. My life often feels surreal. I don’t have any tangible souvenirs, not exactly. Just a scar from Sienna’s birth. The rest of my souvenirs are very intangible.

  2. Isn’t life always surreal? All memories seem like they passed by so quickly, despite the fact taht you were there for a full YEAR. Pregnancy memories? Pffft! Gone. FAST. Een though I know it took almost 3 full years to birth my kids….

  3. Don’t forget the words you wrote on your blog too. Precious memories in pictures are great, but with words? Even better. I’m so glad to be a part of that incredible journey of yours – even if it’s just me looking in from the outside :)

  4. Well I’m glad you also have your beautiful words recorded here to help you remember! Glad the surgery went well!

  5. The last time I was in England a friend of a friend met us at the hotel each morning and guided us all around London and surrounds. The two of us exchanged letters and cards periodically. Every time I found a return address to Middlesex in my mailbox, my first thought would be–I really was there. I really did travel the London streets and English countryside. This letter proves it.

  6. Aw , so beautifully written. I hope he is doing well now that the pins are out. What a brave little boy!!

  7. What a year you’ve had! So, so glad those pins are out. I think it may be a bit like your leg, the signs of the past fade, but there is something forever changed too.

  8. Maybe you’ll have another adventure. That’s what I always say.

  9. What an elegant and tangible post, Stacia.

    Yes, surreal, when you leave one country and build a life piece by piece in another – with all its frustrations and lessons. Then you find yourself “home” and nothing is quite the same but bridging the the before and the after is a process that you aren’t even sure you want to undertake.

    But you have those pins and wires to help you remember, even as some of the details fade.

  10. I’ve often half joked that my biggest souvenirs from my time abroad are my husband and son ;-) It continues to be surreal…first when we moved back to the US, and I couldn’t believe I was actually HERE, again, finally. And again whenever we head back to Japan. It always boggles my mind that within 20 hours I’m on the opposite side of the globe, with the sun shining while friends back home are sleeping.

    What a year you and your family had had! I don’t think you’ll ever forget, though sometimes things, even home, will continue to feel surreal.

  11. [...] Did I tell you our camera got stolen? In Madrid. At the airport. In literally the last minutes of our year in Europe. [...]

  12. [...] fought over the train in the basket of toys, waited, fought, and waited. We talked with the nurse, got new X-rays, talked with the doctor, got lollipops, and checked out. We bundled up. We unbundled for a potty [...]


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