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He’s home!  

Last night, there was our prodigal son, walking down the airport corridor with a newly grown beard and a big smile.  Heading swiftly towards him was our middle son, bestowing on Ian a manhug.  And racing at top speed with a huge grin on his face was our lastborn, heading into a full bear hug with his big brother.

After all the “Hey man, great to see you” comments, Ian’s next words to Malcolm were:  “Hey, that’s my shirt.”

Yes, life has returned to normal around here. 

At home, we watched Ian unpack his treasures (a pint glass from the Guiness brewery, a scarf knit by his Swedish friend Heddy, a mint-in-box plastic food chopper left by a huckster at a hostel in Dublin, a handful of Scottish newspapers), heard some of his stories, saw just a few of his hundreds of photos.

After a somewhat frantic search for Ian’s beloved Macbook, it was found safely buried in a laundry basket in the corner of his room.  Malcolm was turfed out of Ian’s room to the guest room, and Hugh gets to keep the bunk bed room to himself.  When Uncle Jim visits at Christmas,  perhaps he can take the top bunk.

I was relieved to learn that Ian did not get, as threatened, a tattoo saying Philadelphia.  Or any tattoo.  Despite some early bumps in his adventures, he did not feel his trip was too long – if anything, he felt it was too short.  He mastered the art of reading bus and train schedules in foreign cities, booking accommodations and Ryanair tickets, shopping for hostels, and protecting his stuff from pickpockets.  Basic survival skills that are best learned from being out on one’s own.

He’s scheming about finding a job now, to make money for college – and to go to Norway next summer.  A vegetarian since toddlerhood, he learned to eat some new foods while away – “That’s great!  Like what?” – and the answer was “Soup.” 

But getting back to the wonderful scene at the airport, I have to share my friend Penelope’s comment from a few posts back, asking what movies make you cry.  It’s very apropos to today’s post.   Here is her answer:

The last scene, with real people arriving and being greeted by loved ones at Heathrow airport in Love Actually gets me every time!   (what follows is the voiceover from the scene):

“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaking suspicion… love actually is all around.”

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