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Hi, and welcome back! Thanks for sticking around while I took a break. I arrived back in Santiago on Tuesday after a full vacation in the states, feeling refreshed and excited for the rest of my time here in South America. I was calm leaving the places, the people not so much. Not too much crying, don’t worry! Just two tears, right TH?:)

A quick recap of my time back home:

TH, LB, and my parents came to the airport to pick me up! Mom brought sneakers because I wore flip flops back to a Boston winter... Not my finest moment in planning.
TH, LB, and my parents came to the airport to pick me up! Mom brought sneakers because I wore flip flops back to a Boston winter… Not my finest moment in planning.
Had lunch with these lovely ladies | From left to right AM, EB, me, AA
Had lunch with these lovely ladies. EB was about to head off on her trip to explore Europe! Even though I’m living abroad too, am I allowed to say I’m a little jealous? | From left to right AM, EB, me, AA
The Ballantyne's shared Christmas Eve with one of the best families I know, a tradition for as long as I can remember
Christmas Eve spent with family friends, my favorite Christmas tradition
Some time spent together in Connecticut celebrating Christmas and LM's birthday
Some time spent together in Connecticut celebrating Christmas and LM’s birthday
Spent some time in Vermont with TH and his family. Skiing at Sugarbush Resort was a must.
A week in Vermont with TH and his family. And AF too! Skiing at Sugarbush Resort was a must.
Also in Vermont, watching the sunset over Lake Champlain. Pretty sweet, huh?
Also in Vermont, watching the sunset over Lake Champlain. Pretty sweet, huh?
Headed to Philly for my final weekend in the states! Here's MB, JF, and I out to watch the Ravens vs. Steelers game. Prior to the Steelers' loss.
Headed to Philly for my final weekend in the states | MB, JF, and I out to watch the Ravens vs. Steelers game. Prior to the Steelers’ loss.

Home is a funny thing for me at the moment. Home is not so much place as it is the people. I think this is where I should call on the quote, “Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien, from the poem All that is gold does not glitter out of the Lord of the Rings first novel, The Fellowship of the Ring. Here’s how it goes:

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

I have to admit that I have yet to pick up the full novel, and fell asleep watching the second movie. (P.S. Thanks for having us over to watch during break though, QM! It was great to meet you.) Taken as it is though, without the context of Bilbo Baggins, the first four lines stuck with me as I have found homes in many places. Just because my break was spent in many different places doesn’t mean that I am lost. Just because I am driven to travel doesn’t mean that I am dissatisfied. “Deep roots are not reached by the frost.” I am rooted by the people I love, wherever they may be, no matter how far.

One last family picture before we scattered again xo
One last family picture before we scattered again xo

I’m all moved in to my new apartment, and have begun settling into my new neighborhood. Pictures will follow soon!

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