I have wandered, traveled my entire life. My entire life. I still cannot tell you where home really is. I claim my mother’s hometown as my own. You see my mother and father met in Turkey. She was a teacher, and he was in the Air Force. Two Americans living overseas. They fell in love, they got married, and then I came along.
Because of this life of travel, I have a hard time really picturing home. Connecticut is the place we’d go every few years to visit my grandmother. She’d welcome us in the middle of the night with a tray of triangle-shaped sandwiches which we would wolf down and go to bed. In a way, that is always the place I return to in my heart when I think of a hometown. It’s small, with two traffic lights, and there are a few places in town that I look forward to seeing every time I go, but everyone else in the town would never think of taking a drive to see these things. They are just that normal.
In other words, I cannot personally relate to the beginning of the quote, because I have no normal. Instead the second part of the quote is what resonates with me. “Being in another place heightens the senses…” This is so true. I love that first time you arrive some place. Often for us, that means the middle of the night in some airport. We grab a ride and we drive through darkened streets, hardly any traffic, and we see the city for what it is before it wakes up. I love this! Since our senses are so heightened, it gives us an opportunity to get our bearings without too much added stimuli.
I love walking down a street for the very first time. I notice the buildings, the yards, the flowers and trees, the cafés, the people walking to work, the joggers and dog-walkers. Everything is new, and even though it really is the same world-wide, it’s also different. To begin immersing myself into this new city, I go into a restaurant and try to order. Now, let me tell you something. If it’s a language I have no idea about, I’m in heaven! Weird, I know, and yes I will probably revert to English. It doesn’t really matter how I get my point across, but the more I struggle or feel unsure, the more “new” and exciting it feels. And what an achievement it is to be able to talk and make myself understood, and then of course eat some amazing food. The next steps are easier, I begin talking, interacting, looking for conversations with locals, and before you know it, I’m comfortable.
As I become more and more comfortable, in creeps the “normal.” It doesn’t take long. As I find myself snuggling into that cocoon of normalcy, the stimulating scenes in front of me become part of the background. Guess what? It’s time to move on, knowing I now have another “hometown” to return to.
Does this quote resonate with you? Why or why not?
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