Long story short, despite the rocky start, it was good month. Sure there was a lot of stress and many a botched bus ride in the wrong direction, but I made it through and came home with fuzzy a Soviet Union hat from East Berlin (which I hid from my Czechoslovakian conference participants who were born under a Soviet regime), chocolates from Bruges, magnets from Antwerp, a Berlin Bear, plus happy memories to boot. More importantly, at my lowest moments, when I sent a call out to Facebook looking for support, I found a warm and gentle voice that did much to keep my sanity in tact. When it was time to leave, I was thrilled to be going home, but grateful for the memories as well. And as I boarded the bus to fly from Brussels to Heathrow, and then home to O'Hare, Israel kamakawiwo'ole's rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" played on the radio.
As I listened to the song, tears filled my eyes because I realized, in one month, quite a few of my pie in the sky dreams had finally come true. Maybe it wasn't quite the way I'd expected, but it was still good. Of course, all was not well when I returned home to Kansas, I mean, Indiana. As you know, by winter of 2012, I sunk into a deep depressive episode that I am still recovering from. Since last January, each time I try to be hopeful about the future, panic takes hold of me. What if I hope and trust only to be devastated again? There are no assurances in this life. No road maps to our future. No way to skip ahead to the end of story. That's hard for me. But, lately, I've been realizing that maybe if one of my dreams can come true the others can, too. Maybe I've had to and will have to wait a little longer than I'd hope, but that's okay. Maybe this is about patience. Maybe we have to dare to dream if we want our desires to come true. So instead of giving into the panic and refusing to hope, I think, I'll remember my tour of Bruges, a warm voice, and that "the dreams that we dare to dream really do come true."