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Posted by Jessica on Jul 7, 2010
Where Do We Go From Here?

It's been nearly six weeks since Belly passed away and it still doesn't feel real. We've passed through a range of emotions during this time, sometimes a whole range of emotions in the space of an hour. Coming home to our cottage and not seeing his wagging smiling self in the doorway is hard. Nighttime, when Belly normally would be snuffling around the cottage playing with his toys, is hard too. Seeing something out of the corner of our eye that almost lets us think he's there, like the breeze moving the curtain just so, is harder still. Unless you've lost a forever pet, it can be difficult to imagine how much of your life they fill up, and how much is empty once they're no longer here.

We've been moved beyond words by all the kindness and love all of you have shared with us. Your comments on our last post about Belly's passing, your emails and cards, and your phone calls are what have helped us take everything one step at a time. Not a day goes by that we aren't reminded how much Belly and his story means to people all around the world. And for that we will always remain grateful. Thank you so very much to all of you for caring about us and Belly. We can't tell you how much it has meant.

Missing our baby boy Belly

Some days are more difficult for me, some are more difficult for Tim. But we've been taking care of ourselves and one another as best we can. Our friends who knew Belly have helped to remind us that he would want us to be smiling right now, just as he always wanted. And we try to console ourselves by feeling lucky to have been his mom and dad as long as we were.

Still it hurts, incredibly so.

We've been trying our best to keep ourselves busy and constantly moving so we don't have as much time to think. We've been trying to get out of the house more, especially on weekends, away from the reminders and away from the quiet. Our drives and walks along the Cape Cod coast have been serving us well. Many nights we've been getting lost in television – which is quite an accomplishment given we don't own a television, but online tv has been taking care of us. Books, always a constant in our cottage, have come out in even larger numbers (and larger library fines too). Up until a few days ago, we avoided any big cooking sessions together – they were just a reminder that part of our family is gone, the fuzzy four-legged part who would helpfully clean up any crumbs while we cooked. But this weekend we put on our aprons from Laos and opened a bottle of wine and quickly lost track of the time amongst all the chopping and stirring.

Our cat China is trying her best to fill up the space. She's a remarkable cat in her own right, but she's really been stepping it up these past few weeks. The moment she hears either of us crying, she runs over and nuzzles us. And when we get home, we see her waiting in the door while we walk up the steps. Then, right as we're putting the key in the door, she races back to Tim's office and out of sight. But once we've walked into the cottage, she trots out full speed to greet us meowing the whole way. She's been helping us laugh again.

Still it hurts, incredibly so.

Neither of us is sure how long our lives will feel like we're in a holding pattern. How long we'll have to push ourselves to keep filling up the quiet before we feel overwhelmed by it. But for now, we're getting by. And every now and again, we're able to smile. Just like Belly always wanted.

On the road again

Perhaps not surprisingly, travel has been one of the best ways to keep us distracted. Whether it's traveling itself or simply daydreaming about it, traveling has been taking care of us.

In the past few weeks we've visited Philadelphia and North Carolina. We'll be back in Philly again later this month and then it'll be time for us to visit Canada again too. (For those keeping track at home: this upcoming trip will make our third time to Canada just this year!)

And, of course, there's the matter of where to go this fall.

Tim and I will have about three weeks to go somewhere in the fall. Which, while it isn't long enough for a trip around the world, it is a pretty solid chunk of holiday time.

And so now the question remains, where should we go?

Should we head to one of our previous haunts? Or should we chart new adventures together someplace else entirely? Is there a place in the world you've fallen in love with that we should see too? Or is there some place you've always wanted to go?

We'd love to hear any and all suggestions from everybody. Even if you've never left a comment before, or never left the country before, please don't be shy. Just suggest away!

If nothing else, you can see it as a way to help distract two hedgehogs, or at the very least a way to daydream of new lands for you to visit too. Sometimes the most exciting time for anyone is when we don't know where to go from here.

So let's take a stroll together. Put aside your worries about feasibility or money or time off from work. Let your mind wander. And tell me, where do you want to go in the world?

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Maggie (Tim's sister)
July 7, 2010 at 12:15pm
I'd suggest Paris as you didn't get enough time to really see anything the last time you went.

If I could travel I suppose I'd go to the places that Emily and I often dream about going to like: Grece; Italy (Rome, Venice and a few other places); Germany; Paris; The UK; The Bahamas; San Francisco; P-Town and Cape Cod; King's Dominion (again as we loved it so much); Universal Studios in Orlando Flordia (for the Harry Potter theme park); Maui; Lewiston, NY (so I can show Emily where I grew up); Niagara Falls (so Emily can understand the awesomeness of at all); Australia; New Zeland (cuz Philsie would kill me for not adding that); Las Vegas (cuz Emily wants to go for some odd reason); and any other place that had some gay friendly destinations.

July 7, 2010 at 2:01pm
Paris is tempting again, especially if we did it as a 1 or 2 day layover on our way someplace else. I'm afraid we wouldn't be able to afford many more days than that there! But it's definitely intriguing. Thanks, Mags! :)
July 7, 2010 at 4:54pm
Egypt, with a stopover in London :D

Paris-Bruges-Amsterdam-Düsseldorf-Berlin :D


July 7, 2010 at 11:04pm
You're on to us, Klaus! Egypt is on our list right now. We'd originally intended to go there on our RTW trip, but it got cut along the way.

If we had a stopover in London, would you guys be able to meet us? What about in Paris (if, for example, we went to Morocco instead of Egypt)? Inquiring hedgehogs want to know. :)

Deb
July 8, 2010 at 11:07am
Ah, how to choose? That is one of the joys of travel – you will never run out of places to go!

My first response was to suggest you go back to Buenos Aires, because you loved it so much and it is where you started your grand adventure (you're kind of starting again in a way, no?)

My second thought was Bolivia – you had to miss it the first time around which was such a shame. It is a fabulous country that deserves a visit, and three weeks would give you enough time to see a good part of it. Just make sure it's not rainy season.

Then my thoughts just wander uncontrollably and the list is never-ending! Maybe each of you should make a secret list of five to ten places you're thinking of, then compare lists and see if there's a match? Or spin a globe, close your eyes, stop the globe with your finger and then go to wherever it landed (provided it isn't in the middle of an ocean or a war zone, then you get to spin again).

As for us, we're trying to decide between Nicaragua, Honduras, Puerto Rico, Chile or Colombia for a trip in December. Or perhaps somewhere else? so hard to choose.

And it's awesome you're coming to Canada again! Canada is great in the fall too, in case you decide not to wander too far from home :)



July 9, 2010 at 8:54am
Awwww, Deb. You are so wonderfully perceptive: you pinned down several of the thoughts we've been having lately. And I like your idea about coming up with separate lists too or spinning the globe, that sounds like fun!

As for us, we're trying to decide between Nicaragua, Honduras, Puerto Rico, Chile or Colombia for a trip in December. Or perhaps somewhere else? so hard to choose.

All great choices! If it was me, I'd lean toward Nicaragua, but I'm biased. :) My impression (without having been to Puerto Rico) is that Nicaragua has the beauty of Puerto Rico but without the price tag and with less tourists. (I don't know too much about Honduras, so it might be a great bet in those regards also.) That said, there's a reason folks go to Puerto Rico: it's supposed to be fabulous. :)

You should chat with Klaus about Colombia! After our time in Bogota with him, he spent the next several weeks traveling overland. My impression was that they had a great time. And Bogota was really great! He has his photos online too -– http://www.kheussler.de/col…

You're right: there are so many places to choose. It's a wonderful problem to have! :)

July 10, 2010 at 3:45am
We've just started to look at Sri Lanka for next February… seems like a mixture between India and Koh Chang :)
July 11, 2010 at 9:06am
That sounds like a perfect combination!

You know, Cape Cod has often been described as a combination of India and Koh Chang too. (Okay, not really…)) You guys should come here instead. :)

Janet
July 12, 2010 at 7:43pm
YOU'VE BEEN TO PHILLY AND YOU DIDN'T LET ME KNOW!:(

Just for that I won't tell you my favorite place.
I can't decide.
I'm still a-check out the home wilderness territory-person. My next venture is Alaska, before the glaciers melt.
Utah…Zion, Bryce, Canyonlands downside 3% beer
Texas…Guadalupe Mts., California…Yosemite,Sequoia,Muir Woods.
Colorado…Mesa Verde, Durango, Cortez (some good local brew).
Wyoming…excellent local brews…oh and Yellowstone.

It's cheap, nature, USA and did I mention some good local brews?

July 12, 2010 at 8:44pm
Janet – I know! I know! I'm horrible. I had plans to stop by Red Cross to surprise you and Randy, but things changed last minute. :(

BUT! Now that life is a little bit different at home, I'll be coming down to Philly more often. (Tim goes down for work every now and then. And it used to be I'd stay home at the cottage because we didn't want to board Belly…obviously, sadly, that part has changed now, so I can go to Philly too.)

We'll be coming down again in August…maybe we can get together? And then you can tell me your favorite place too! That is, of course, if you can forgive me. :)

Philsie
July 13, 2010 at 6:17am
You should go somewhere and get beached…beached as Bro
July 13, 2010 at 8:46am
Next year, Philsie. Next year as, bro! :)
missy(&derick)
July 13, 2010 at 10:11am
all of my travel dreams involve most of Europe, which is expensive, hence the "dreams" portion. i'm not a fan of the heat so i would stay up north, especially in Autumn (it's my favorite time of year, with the apple cider and the pumpkins and the smells). so Quebec, Maine, Vermont, Door County Wisconsin ;) the northern West Coast has always intrigued me.
but wait you guys actually have passports and don't mind the heat… i saw a special about Belize once and thought it looked like a place i might like to check out someday. ancient ruins, jungles, grass huts, waterfalls, mangoes and beaches.
July 13, 2010 at 5:36pm
You know, we've never been to Wisconsin before… :)

Belize is an intriguing option that I had completely forgotten about until your comment. We'll look into it! Thanks, M & D! :)

Shana
July 17, 2010 at 9:19pm
I'm not sure where you should go next, but I'm sure that it will be amazing.

Not to trivialize anything, but I had an experience yesterday that was like a jolt to the system -– I was walking around San Francisco, walking along a certain street that I knew to be close to one of the hospitals my J stayed in… then walking right past a store that has a very certain vignette of a memory to me from around that time. It was so visceral to walk by the store. I teared up, and couldn't even think of going in, even though it's a design store…and I love design stores!… the way we associate beings with their places…and even the places that were inadvertently part of their stories… it's powerful, and it doesn't really go away, I'd guess. Not for us sensitive types ;)

Thanks for letting me share.

July 18, 2010 at 11:19am
Ohhh Shana, sweetie, thank you so much for sharing. What an incredibly powerful moment. *soul prickles*

*hugs*
*thinking of you*

Amy
July 19, 2010 at 1:02pm
How about Uraguay?
Here is a link to a blog I follow written by an american woman who is currently living there…
http://www.mayafrost.com/bl…
July 21, 2010 at 11:21am
Neat! Thank you for the link to her blog, we'll definitely check it out. :)

Uruguay is a great suggestion! It would be wonderful to return there, we only had a bit less than two weeks there and there's much more to see. Plus one of our most favorite places in the world, Punta del Diablo, is there too! Hmmmmm… :)

Amy Reaney
July 27, 2010 at 8:51pm
I commented here suggesting Uruguay, but I also e-mailed you with a suggestion for Portland, Oregon. Here's a link with a little back up! (Hint: P.O. has THE best food carts in the world)
http://www.budgettravel.com…
July 28, 2010 at 11:06am
LOL! You are an evil temptress! It's very difficult for hedgehogs to resist excellent food carts! We'll definitely have to investigate this matter further. :)

I was just looking through our email account because I hadn't seen your email before…and then I found it! Our email provider went a bit wonky and marked it as spam, but I've rescued it and look forward to reading the story you attached. Yay! :)

We'll be thinking of you guys with Zydeco. We know how very, very hard it is. *hugs* *more hugs*

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