Tag Archives: repatriation

Home Again, Home Again Revisited

20151006_070116Fall Sunrise 2015I asked you to ask me in three to five months, how I was feeling about my time being “home” in the US after 12 years in Western Europe.

Yes, I have  gained a few pounds and yes there is a lot more TV and sugar in our lives.  The wine gives me headaches and I miss the days when Prosecco was affordable enough to drink whenever I felt like it and not just for a special occasion. I am spending more money than usual and my son has experienced the pleasures of head lice, early vaccinations (and all at once), soccer in the pouring rain, the true American experience of a “lockdown” drill and, since this is Washington, an earthquake drill, too.

But…

The livin’ is easy.

The salmon are jumping

and the rivers are high.

Every morning

I see The Sound and a lone gray heron

So, hush, little baby, no need to cry

I can’t lie to you.   I am relishing my time here.   The mountain, the salmon, the sunrises, the funky, socially responsible and concerned people, the grass-fed bison, oh and the libraries!  YUM.  I love them so.  I’m stuffing myself with inspiring text, cookbooks, audio books, and DVDs.  We’re watching Eloise, The Muppet Show, and Free to Be You and Me on the big screen from bed on Saturday mornings. So much inspiration, information and entertainment at my fingertips!  And free! What?  Online holds and renewal??  Are you kidding me??  I will miss the libraries the most.  Cheap movie day is also pretty tasty. How I miss seeing movies on the big screen in English.  Not to mention, the theater: Charlie Brown’s Christmas on the stage and The Nutcracker, of course.  I am…stuffing myself.

But, it’s not just the superficial stuff; how I have missed connecting with people the way I have these few months.  Granted, I am making an effort, but people are REALLY interesting and so beautiful.  I see so much more vulnerability than I used to see and that translates to humanness.  It is refreshing that some people are so willing to show me who they are.

I’ve been working, subbing in the schools and feeling Confidence pulling itself to it’s feet.  It says, in a low, slow, satisfied tone, “I’ve still got it.  They want me.  They really want me.” I feel restored and “better than before”.  I’ve even  gone to church and its in English, of course!  What a difference that makes, but moreover, what a difference it makes to be able to choose between spiritual communities, to find one that actually fits.  In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, I had a place to go where I could be reminded of the good in the world.  I have felt deeply moved by the words spoken, the authenticity of the congregation, the familiar music sung, the kindness and love of humanity, the feeling that I belong just because I am there.

It’s like I’ve got an American bucket list, things I’ve been longing to do before the person-I-used-to-be died, before kids grow up, before people I love die, before things change so much that I will no longer have a place to come “home” to.

I feel lighter now.  Like something was stuck, clogging me up, and now I’m free.  So, will I go back??  Absolutely.  It was me, Italy, not you.  Home is in me.

I will greet her openly, lovingly, tenderly.  I will put my feet on her ground and light it up.   I am home. I am home.  I am home.

 

Home Again, Home Again

Vacation with Dad and Carol 2013 moon and mountain (73)
Mount Rainier with her moon friend

I have returned…in so many ways.  Back “home” where I no longer live.  You might wonder if it still feels like home after living abroad for 12  years.  I did go through an awkward phase a few years back, but that was more due to the fact that I’d returned home as a new mom with a baby and no longer fit into the places and relationships that I left there.  But now, after a month of salt water, seafood, barnacles, seagulls, and salmon, I’m feeling pretty at home and so is my five year old.  He told me the other day that we “belonged” here because we speak English.  He’s enjoying the bubblegum ice cream, grilled cheese sandwiches, and French fries.   I’m cringing at the fast and convenience foods, 24 hour everything, giant food portions, and the abundance of televisions and computer screens.

This is his fifth trip to the US and yet he feels just as much as home here as I.  A month has already passed and we have five more to go.  I am curious how he’ll feel as time goes on.  He says he misses his toys and his dad.  My sweet, supportive husband holds down the fort and awaits our return.  He says he’s happy we’re doing this, but he must be nervous even if he won’t admit it.  Part of me is a little nervous, too.  What if I don’t want to go back?  What if it gets too comfortable here?  Ice coffees, everything open all day, friends and family, thrift shops, creative people selling their wares everywhere you look, the waterfront, the diverse and delicious menu choices, the children’s museums in every city, the array of activities and opportunities for young children, not to mention the employment opportunities and the ease with which I can communicate and connect with others.  What if I don’t want to go back?  What if love isn’t all you need?

My husband and I are GOOD at long distance.  We did it for four years.  Four years of poetry, passion, and pain. It wasn’t easy to be separated then.  What if it’s too easy now?  I’m not alone here.  I have my people.  My son.  My compatriots.  It’s so much easier just to be.  I don’t have to try, I just am.  The possibilities here seem abundant and endless. Just like they did when we were engaged, before we moved to Italy.

So, this is my honeymoon phase.  I know. Talk to me in three months and again in five.  Talk to me when we are on month three of nonstop rain and gray and damp and I’ve gained 15 pounds, my kid is addicted to TV and sugar, and I’m afraid to walk down the street at night (I’m only half kidding.).  Ask me, then, if I feel at home here.