On Monday night, Emirates Flight 250 from Milan Malpensa Airport landed safely in New York City at JFK. The city glittered in the crisp November evening and passengers unbuckled their seat belts in a chorus of clicks and clacks. Bags were removed from overhead bins and children, woken from their airborne sleep, cried and whimpered in their parents’ arms. I leaned my face against the glass of the airplane window and watched my reflection faint against the black tarmac. The eyes in the window formed tears which spilled into the orange traffic cones and blinking safety lights far beyond the well-lit cabin. I willed the plane back into the sky, wished a reversed path east over the Atlantic and a safe return back to Italy where the journey had begun three and a half months ago. My desperate pleas were in vain. I bundled up my belongings, powered on my phone, and joined the line of weary passengers as they exited the plane.
Three days have passed since then. The subtle awareness of returning to the United States happens unexpectedly in the most mundane ways. The waiters at the restaurant speak English. My computer and phone charger no longer require thick boxy adapters. My mornings are spent deciding what outfit I will wear, overwhelmed by the sheer number of clothes and shoes, before returning to my pjs and slippers. Most things–my parents’ house, my friends’ lives, the life I left– seem relatively unchanged and I catch myself wondering if this adventure was all just a dream. All that remains from my European excursion is an opened box of Turkish Delight and the small collection of dirty clothes still stuffed into dusty backpack in the living room.
But this life, the life back home, is filled with new and colorful sweets as well. This weekend I’m spending time exploring the new apartment in Queens and preparing for a job interview with a sustainability company in Manhattan. I missed my friends and still relish the luxury of texting them from the same time zone, catching up on promotions, new adventures and graduate school applications. They have welcomed me back with open arms as if no time as passed at all and it is these people I’ve returned to that make the loss of others somewhat easier to bear.
I’m baking again with a full kitchen at my disposal and countless pumpkin muffin recipes to try. I have a plethora of blog posts to write and newfound time to write them (thanks unemployment). And I have yet another city just waiting to be explored with a new wide-eyed, friendly, curious traveler self to take into this new chapter of my life. Maybe I’m not traveling across country lines at the moment but I’m still exploring every day.
Thank you, dear readers and dearer friends, for welcoming me home. And I’d be lying if I didn’t say that in some ways…
it is good to be back.