Home

I don’t know the formula for creating a Home. I don’t know how long it takes for an apartment, a familiar street or a city to move beyond the physical to the comfortable and the safe. There are hooks near the door where I hang my keys. But those hooks could be anywhere, on any wall, waiting for any keys to give their existence purpose. 

A man yelled profanities from his seat on the 6 train, heading downtown. He wore socks, no shoes, and had draped an American flag towel over his face and body. I couldn’t see his face but I imagined the world from his eyes, light and blurred movement from the other side of his cotton curtain. The repetition of his words-such angry words-scarred me and I hurried off the train, leaving my high heels behind. I was going home. Was he? 

Nostalgia as a Home. At brunch on Sunday, I sat across from three people who I’ve known and loved since I was 16 years old. Each of them are living dramatically different lives from the nights of summer bonfires and drive-in theaters. We don’t speak often, me and these three people, but time melted with each cup of steaming coffee until I saw them again as the people who knew me best. Despite all those years. I left the restaurant and felt a sense of longing as if I’d forgotten something but couldn’t remember what it was. Shoes on a train. 

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As migrants and refugees continue to bleed over the borders of their own lands into a watercolor of checkpoints and fading hope, I wonder about Home. Leaving Home. I imagine these people saying goodbye to every familiar Home they have ever known. Will the immune system of foreign government accept or reject these transplants? 

As long as they have each other…I traveled soundly knowing my parents were thinking about me, were wondering about me, were keeping my Home safe inside their love.

“It was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together… and I knew it. I knew it the very first time I touched her. It was like coming Home… only to no home I’d ever known… I was just taking her hand to help her out of a car and I knew. It was like… magic.”

Sam Baldwin (Tom Hanks), Sleepless in Seattle

On my daily commute, I see the same people sitting on the same sidewalk and standing near the same Starbucks entrance with their cardboard signs. I see them every morning having left my apartment for the day’s activities. I wonder about these people, wonder about their definition of Home. I do not pretend for a moment to imagine how it must feel to lack a roof over my head or a space to unwind from the world. A private place to call my own. Nor do I know the stories of these people as they kept their eyes focused on the ground in front of them.

Homesick (def): the sickness caused by the perceived lack of or longing for Home. We have a human understanding to help those who suffer from such an illness, never knowing when we might fall victim to such a disease. 

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Flying High

The skin inside my nose tingles just before I’m about to cry. It’s slightly uncomfortable but not a bodily function I can control. The sensation only lasts a couple of seconds, acting as a reminder that my emotional state is being challenged.

Strolling through Bradley International Airport gave my nostrils the same brief sensation, catching me off guard. I doubted any other security employees or fellow travelers felt a strong emotional connection to Gate 29 or the sprinkling of Dunkin’ Donut stands with sleepy-eyed baristas. But there is something about airports-about the precipice of travel- that gives me a feeling a pure bliss. Every wheely suitcase is going somewhere new. Every plane, every seat is stuffed with possibilities of the unknown. “Where are you going?” I want to stop and ask every family and businessman who shuffles by. “Do you see how beautiful it is to jump on a plane and fly?”

So as I sip my latte and look out over the Tarmac, I wish you the feeling of travel on this chilly December morning. For with travel comes the abundance of hope and possibility to challenged hidden preconceived notions about the world. Whether you’ve never flown or have visited every country, the ability to see newness and journey in life should not be overlooked. After all, life is as much about the journey as the destination isn’t it?

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