United States of _________

After just settling back into the groove of Belfast life, I was whisked away again across the Atlantic to see my friends and family in America.

My dad picked me up from Dulles International airport and a flood of memories from three years ago and flying to a new life overseas returned to me. Oh man it was great to see my dad! My rock, my Anam Cara.

We wasted no time and headed to Busboy and Poets (our favorite DC eatery with Vegan food!) and Jennifer joined us for great chats, retold stories and great food. 

Being back in America was an odd one. Very telling I think. I rented a car and made a point to visit my childhood home and take some photos. I also managed to see my brother at work and give him a hug (who knows when the next time I'll see him will be) before carrying on my road trip journey to Pittsburgh to visit Claire.

It had been a while since I'd seen Claire and we had a lovely time catching up, going to exercise classes, meeting her group of Pittsburgh friends and visiting the Mattress factory museum. It really hit me how differently we had evolved since childhood, but the friendship connection was still there despite our independent differences.

After Pittsburgh, I returned the rental car in DC and jetsetted to Colorado to meet Cheryl! I love Denver despite it being land locked and a little chilly, but the food and good conversations make up for that! Cheryl and I visited the huge art museum in Dnever where my creative juices began to flow again. Then off for vegan breakfasts before meeting more of her friends. Cheryl's friendship means the world to me and I feel like I can truly speak freely about my thoughts and feelings. Her veganism and passion for social justice is part of the binding glue that surrounds our friendship with love.

The trip to Denver was magical, but short. I was headed back to DC to say my last goodbyes and return to Belfast for another week before moving onwards again. I noticed while in America that many people seemed to be heavy or unhappy. Perhaps it was a mistake in my observations, but I hadn't remembered this 'heaviness' before. I feel like the journey back 'home' allowed me to work at meeting people where they are in life. Without judgement, without disappointment, but with deeper love, empathy and patience to hear what is being said.

I'm back in the city with Hannah and company. Every day waking up here has felt so right and easy. I look forward to seeing old friends and chosen family. Times at the beach with Corneilus up the north coast, potluck vegan food get togethers, lingerie photo shoots, collaborative projects, tipsy pub conversations, musical drum circles, gut busting laughs.

In two days time, I'll be off on my first leg back to Thailand. 36 hour layover in Oslo Norway, Bangkok, then Chiang Mai where I'll be staying for the next year. I look forward to living with Hugh and learning more about how we are as people.

so until we meet again,