While I haven’t been blogging much about My Happiness Project, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been following through on it. These last few months have gone by incredibly quickly, but they have made me so much happier than I have been in a long while.

In my last post I talked about building community and reconnecting with my family, and I have to say that I wish I had set that goal YEARS ago. For many years now I have told myself that I don’t need anybody. I have prided myself on the fact that I never get homesick or miss my family while other travelers are desperate for news of home. But I think I finally understand why they thought I was the one who was missing out. In the past few months I have traveled to Utah, Arizona, California, and Washington, D.C., and have reconnected with friends and family that I hadn’t seen in quite some time.

Some of the highlights of these trips included hearing my 90-year-old grandmother talk about her experience working as a military nurse in WWII, going to the gym with my 90-year-old grandfather (!), and having the first real chat with my mother in about a decade. I came to terms with my own mortality on this journey, facing two aging grandparents who have been role models for me throughout the years and learning of my mother’s worsening health, which included brain surgery a week before my visit. All I can say is that I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to see them again and that none of them seemed to mind that I have been MIA for so many of the last several years. Despite my upcoming move abroad, yet again, for once I feel like family will be one of the big things that I will miss about “home.”

As my most recent beau told me this weekend: With technology today, we are never too far apart. I think Senegal will still feel like worlds away, but I will try to be grateful for some Skype sessions with my baby nephews and my grandparents while I’m away.