“Oh home, let me come home
Home is wherever I’m with you
Oh home, let me come home
Home is wherever I’m with you”
– Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros
After being 6 time zones away for 6 months, Katie and I were eager to fly back to North Carolina for some home cooking and time with friends and family. For homebodies like us, six months felt like six years (think: dog year calculation). We’ve experienced more adventure in Switzerland than we could have imagined. But you know what new countries, mountain peaks, and historic cites aren’t? Home.
So we boarded a plane December 19 and touched back down in North Carolina. First stop? Chickfila. After sleeping for 703 hours, Katie and I were kissed awake by home. Here are some of the highlights:
There were many shared meals with family, but one of our most special occasions was an Italian evening put on by the Zaccardo family. Hat-tip to Mrs. Z for running the cooking class out of her kitchen. Everyone threw on aprons, circled the kitchen island, and set out on the impossible: making pasta from scratch. Though Jeff Reintgen bragged that his noodles were the best, I think everyone showed up that little mouse from Ratatouille with their slapdash cooking skills. But the MVP award goes to Pat and Stephani. Pat won because he managed to have that beard on his face and not get any of it in the pasta. Stephani for being the only person who knew more than ten words of Italian. Our winners are featured below:
Proximity to Loved Ones
What’s that? You want us to come over for lunch? We’re on the way. One of the nicest things about being home, was just being around those we love! I actually ran into people I know. Randomly. With no planning at all. I forgot how much fun it is to just bump into people. So far in Zurich, this has happened to us once (ran into members of our community group at the grocery..and it felt really cool). Side note: proximity to signs/food labels/posters in our own language were a sweet treat.
We made it to the Martin gathering and got to have some fun playing Fishbowl and NotMafia. It was also a blast from the past to see the four little ones opening up presents this year… I’m sure that’s what it was like when we were that age, but multiplied by a few more kids.
One surprising twist to our time at home was getting to attend Christ the King Presbyterian twice. We’ve always loved attending there, and loved the friendships we’ve formed there, but we never realized they’re basically a second family. I couldn’t talk for 30 seconds without someone else coming up to say hey, ask how we’re doing, etc. It was good to be back with our family.
Beyond random run-ins, it was really nice to catch up with the people we love. Katie got to see her great friends Brie Sugg and Brittney Henderson on a short trip to western North Carolina. We attended a few fun parties, snagged a few delicious lunches, hosted a little New Years Eve action, and even managed to steal this dog at Sarah Pires’s birthday celebration
Game Nights – Sponsored by Francisco
With the Reintgen family, games are an expectation. We’ll hook you up with some Settlers, Balderdash, Scattergories, and plenty of cards… But one thing we couldn’t have predicted was the sensational introduction of Francisco’s indie board gaming knowledge. He introduced us to CODENAMES, which quickly became a family favorite. And even though we only played one game of MYSTERIUM, I’ve already asked my mom to buy it for my birthday. Hat-tip to Francisco for pushing past my doubts and bringing some of the most fun games I’ve played in years. A big thanks to both Wes and Kelsey for joining us in the games.
AMMO, Wes. AMMO!
The Reintgen and Zaccardo Hotels
Y’all, we took showers in actual showers. You know, the kind where you’re not slow dancing with the shower curtain. We woke up and ate breakfast at a table with more than two chairs. We sat on a couch. You know what we don’t have in our apartment? A couch. We ate food cooked in ovens. I raided the cookie dough drawer.Katie dipped actual Tostitos in actual salsa. We drove cars with wheels to places. Mr Z. made me a batch of his famous beef jerky while my dad percolated coffee for Katie in the mornings. It was heaven!
At both houses, we felt at home. Waking up to the parents. Laughing until bedtime. Hanging out with siblings. It was like high school… but my girlfriend is my wife.
Unexpected Lost Marathons
As with the onslaught of games, we never saw this one coming. Pat resurrected our love for Lost. Frankly, he’s starting to look like one of the characters… Either way, we enjoyed rediscovering the hatch, meeting Henry Gale (AKA Benjamin Linus), and learning a little bit more about the others. I’m pretty sure we watched a whole season.
What We Brought Home
Besides encouragement for the next three months here in Switzerland, we also brought home the following items:
- Our own game of CODENAMES
- Chewy Sweet Tarts
- Golden Oreos
- Brownie Mix
- Apple Jacks
- Spice Mixes (courtesy of Mrs. Z)
- Christmas Presents
- Frank’s Red Hot Sauce x 2
- Beef Jerky
- Warm Clothes for Skiing
- Cheddar Pringles (eaten on the plane)
So even though 2015 was overshadowed by selfie sticks and incredible life changes, Katie and I would say we rounded out our year where our hearts belong: at home. We’re looking forward to three more months of adventures with our friends here in Switzerland, but we know home is waiting for us when we come back.