Today I realize, yet again, the dilemma of home. After three years of not traveling “home” I am just finishing up my visit and I have been eager to return “home” for the last two weeks. Where and what is home?
For most of my adult life I have lived outside the US (UK, Netherlands, Hong Kong, Poland, Germany, India, Malaysia, and now Cambodia) and I have learned that “home” is wherever I currently live. Yet many summers I go “home” (in this case Boston) to see family and friends. I have a love-hate relationship with this pattern. I love seeing the people (although sometimes it can feel awkward or forced). I enjoy the opportunity to revisit familiar places, but it is often in that gauze like haze of “I sort of remember this, is this how it goes?” I love being able to buy clothes or other products I cannot easily find in my other home (although this summer my go to clothing store was a huge flop- zero purchases there).
There is the hate side too (I know hate may be too strong a word). I hate feeling like a tourist in my own country- I panic when faced with things that everybody seems to have mastered- I do not know how to do self checkout, do I swipe, tap, or hand the credit card to the cashier?, there are terms and references I do not understand and it all makes me feel slightly out of place. I also do not like having my own space- I generally squish in with family and while I am grateful for that time and their generous hosting I usually live alone and all that peopling is exhausting, I do not get enough of the sit on the couch and read time, as there always feels like the pressure to “do” something. I also never manage to get to see all the people I hope to- their summer schedule does not always align with mine. I also hate that the US does not live up to all the hype- this summer with Supreme Court decisions, more shootings, so many racist events in the news- this was more clear to me than ever. Somehow I miss my rose colored view.
In writing this down I see that I am an absolutely privileged brat. I am so lucky to call two places at a time home. I am lucky that I have family and friends that still put up with me. I have just spent nearly four weeks soaking up love and fun. I was lucky to be able to see my sons, parents, sister, and many friends. I know it is part of the process to feel almost totally ready to be away from wherever I am leaving. Today is for that.
Today I will check off my “Things to do before I leave” list and ensure I am packed and ready for the long trek “home” – it will be nearly 40 hours door to door and a total mind and heart shift. And that is good and right and necessary. Flying out at 11 PM means I have the whole day, so I have to pace myself. For now I will allow myself a bit of a wallow then get going to make the most of my last day “home” before returning “home”.