When S’s parents and sister moved north to Maine, she did not go with the rest of the family. Then in her senior year of high school, she decided to remain in the small Massachusetts town where she had spent her formative years. Despite only calling Maine home for half a year after college, S loves the state, and always looks forward to visiting, especially in autumn. Maine weather is sometimes dreary, but it’s hard to beat New England in the fall.
We spent a week and a half in Bangor — the longest amount of time we stayed in one place during our home leave. Although we did not venture far from S’s parents’ house, our days ended up being mostly packed. We ran errands, did a round of doctors’ appointments, and even drove two hours in a fierce rainstorm in order to purchase a car.
We wanted to visit Portland, where we lived for several months last year and where Munchkin was born, but the closest we came was stopping for lunch in our old neighborhood en route to Bangor from Vermont. D did manage to sneak away to see a college friend while S went to the outlets one afternoon. D’s friend and his colleagues had just wrapped up a beer and technology conference and were winding down at Industrial Way, Portland’s craft beer epicenter. D arrived just in time to sample a beer from a neighboring brewery before joining their VIP tour of Allagash.
In addition to finally settling Munchkin into a routine, S endeavored to immerse him in the American child experiences that he had been missing in Moldova. She took him to the transportation museum so that he could play with fire trucks and to story hour at the local library. We also went apple-picking, and Munchkin had a blast rolling around in the pumpkin patch and feeding the goats at the petting zoo.
Most of all, he loved playing with the dogs, and their names quickly entered his growing vocabulary. Emmie’s name was easy, though he pronounces it, “A-mi.” Libby’s proved a bit harder. He mulled the name over a bit and then exclaimed, “La-boou-sha!” with great delight. He was so remarkably consistent in calling her Labousha and the new name was so outlandish and fun to say that we all took to calling her Labousha as well.
Our stay in Maine might have been the most relaxing period of our hectic home leave, and it flew by quickly. Before we knew it, the week and a half were behind us, and it was time to pack our bags again. The open road was calling.
Thanks to S’s mom for the photo of Munchkin and Labousha.