In a few short days I will set foot on American soil for the first time in over a year. Three weeks along the coast of California. In many ways the idea of that is hard for me to comprehend.
For over a year I've been disconnected from many of the people, places and things that have helped shape who I am today. For the majority of my time in Argentina when I would be returning home for a visit remained up in the air. Because of that uncertainty of return I learned to hold the things that I missed most at a cautious distance. I think of it as a survival technique more than anything. Buenos Aires is a vast flat noisy concrete city. If I constantly thought about how much I missed the Sierras in California and the solitude that can be found within them, my mindset here would be clouded, heavy and lack the focus that would enable me to take in all that is beautiful and different here.
As months went by that cautious distance became a way of life. I learned to muffle my longings, i.e. eating good sushi, having Thomas' Honey Wheat English muffins for breakfast , slicing open a juicy pomegranate or seeing the face of an old friend on a bar stool next to me. It never meant those longings weren't there or that I didn't invest time into staying connected with friends, but I had to choose how tight I'd let the grasp of those things be on me day to day in order to maintain the health and stability of my own smile. When we purchased our airline tickets about a month ago that wall of cautious distance began to slowly come down. I started thinking more and more about all that I missed because I knew soon I would have access to again.
For all the beauty and growth that has come to me during my time in Argentina, it does not negate the fact that after a year away I miss home (the U.S) something fierce. To be around the culture that flows innately through my blood, the language that drips from my pen, the landscape that's worn out the soles my favorite brown boots, and the friends that road-trip through my highway of memories.
I wonder when I return if there will be parts of home I won't recognize, or if home won't recognize parts of me. I imagine on some level both those things will be true and that is how things are supposed to be. Nothing is static except change. I also imagine this first trip home will be the most moving just because it is 'the first' and I have no previous experience that I can relate to it.
What I wonder probably most though is what it will be like to step off the plane in SFO, see a friend for the first time in more than a year, and know that I'm home.
by John Steinbeck
Currently Listening To:
Song: California Stars
Artist: Jeff Tweedy