“The process of coming home after living abroad is simple and stress free.”

Said no one, ever.

The unloading, opening, resealing, and reloading of our storage items went with just one small mishap, a broken (we think) part for the children’s crib we kept. We will have to assemble the crib–a phrase I never expected to be writing at this point in our lives–once everything is delivered to the new house to determine if indeed this part is broken.

The same drill happened with our sea freight, and in this instance a chandelier seems to be missing. Or the box was not accurately labeled. Guess we’ll find out when the movers arrive! The pack-out of our little apartment was so easy-peasy as to not warrant a mention.

Speaking of new houses…no, of course we do not need this 4-bedroom, 3,700ft2 house on 0.92 acres of property. But Knoxvilleans live large. Big houses with big yards, and big garages to house their big totems to the freedom of movement. That written, this is our gorgeous new home.

The house is not perfect; it isn’t the fantasy downtown exposed brick loft because that just does not exist. The 1990s master bath will need to be renovated; and the dark oak kitchen cabinets must be brought into the 21stcentury.  Oh, and the dining chandelier is so not us, either.

But the house spoke to us in a glimpse-of-the-future kind of way. Inside the home were exquisite pieces that the Sellers had obviously collected from their travels (in fact, they had lived overseas, too). On the first tour of the home the Sellers were leaving just as the Agent and I arrived and I had the chance to say hello to Mr. Seller. Turns out Mr. Seller was retiring from ORNL; and they had both done time in D.C.

They were what we will become in 15-20 years.

With the contract in place and all but three suitcases of our belongings (and CTF) loaded into the moving company truck, we hugged friends once again and said our farewell to D.C. Along our pioneer trail,  Tony’s first Chik-fil-A (he’s now a convert!).

Lovely, lovely Wytheville, our overnight at the charming Bolling Wilson Inn (that view!) My first Shrimp and Grits at the Inn’s restaurant, named a “top” restaurant by Virginia Living Magazine, for good reason. But not just any Shrimp and Grits: these included pork lardons and a Creole Trinity hot sauce.

CTF on the hotel terrace the following morning over coffee, the refined American Foxhound that he is.

The following day’s drive treated us to glimpses of the Appalachian Mountains, our new home.

The lunch stop was Johnson City, Tennessee’s first town and worth a return visit. To begin our meal, why, Fried Green Tomatoes, of course.

Motoring on into Knoxville and to the oh-so-adorable airbnb bungalow that would be our home for the next two weeks.