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home again home again

…jiggedy jig.

One word: weird.

Good, more than good, but jeez louise, odd as.  Arrived in Cali Monday afternoon, and spent that night, Tuesday and Wednesday nights with Beeker in San Jose.  Heat!  Cars!  People!  People! The entire freakin’ population of NZ in one city!  Can you say ‘culture shock’?  Driving back from the airport, every time we turned a corner or paused at an intersection, my brain started convulsing, telling me “Wrong side of the road, wrong side!”, making me twitch and mutter involuntarily, expecting a horrible head on crash at any moment.  Later, seeing Jay Leno on TV, I was amazed, commenting, “Wow, we don’t usually get him on TV2, do we?”  Slowly, slowly things began to fall into place, and after the first 24 hours I could accept and recognize that I was no longer in NZ.  Which drew me to the inevitable, cringing understanding that I was in America.  Each Hummer, each waving flag, each “support our troops” ribbon and Wal-Mart billboard I saw hit me like a graffitied brick wall: painful and offensive.  I think I was born to be an ex-pat.

Homecoming, true homecoming occurred several days later – in the wee hours of Friday morning, after a satisfyingly tearful family reunion and a two hour drive from the Boston airport.  Home, however, no longer exists in reality as it does in my twenty-three years of memories.  There’s a new house, for one thing, a gorgeous, stylish and comfortable palace that my parents have been pouring their hearts and souls into for the past year.  It’s beautiful, a true accomplishment, and their pleasure and happiness at finally crossing the threshold of their dreams is apparent in their glowing faces as they give me the grand tour.  For me it means another unfamiliar kitchen in which I will hunt for knives and napkins, another new bed, another bathroom sink on which to rest my toiletry bag.  “Home” suddenly seems lost, impossible and inaccessible.  Framed photographs, small knick-knacks, a rocking chair, a blanket: old friends in a sea of new faces that give me something to cling to as I ride the waters of change.  How to reconcile a need for familiarity with a thirst for travel and newness?

I have changed; it is difficult to see the same change in others, people and places.  Change requires strong countenance – but how can the branches grow toward the sun if the roots too seek the sky?  I am learning: the branches and the roots spring from one heart.  Change in one must create change in the other, for the support goes both ways, big step building on bigger step, multiplying exponentially until roots and branches both can feel alive, fulfilled.  Home, it seems, is truly no further than the heart, for it is from there that love, succor, and companionship dwell.  And my heart?  It’s here, with my family, with my friends.  New house, new jobs, new lives aside, I am grateful for the opportunity to brace myself against their familiarity, to draw strength from their stalwartness and feel inspired by their own transformations.  And my heart is far away, over the seas and under a different sky, waiting quietly while I drink my fill, waiting for me to return, ready to set sail once more.  Balance, duality, adapting, learning…

August 13th is the shipping date; leaving on a jet plane from Manchester, NH at 9:00 AM.

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