Chicago beckons me back with the lake on her right, and the giants on her left. She’s my kind of town and my kind of home. Chicago, I’m coming.
I’m going home tomorrow for the first time in over a year and a half. Until now, the longest I had been away from home was five months. I feel that I have been doing well in New Zealand. I am always asked one of three questions when people here find out I’m American, and sometimes I get all three.
- So what brought you to NEW ZEALAND of all places?!? (Said exactly how you think it’s said.)
- Wasn’t there any work in Chicago?
- So you have any family here? You moved here on your own?!? Why?!
Those are all fun questions to answer, and I never tire from answering them…
I know it may have seemed crazy to move away from family, to a place thousands of miles away, making it a fortune just to even visit me…but I’m really enjoying myself. The work that I do here is something I never thought I’d be doing, but is none-the-less teaching me heaps of lessons in patience, authority, respect, patience, what parenting a teenager must feel like, patience, self-control, anger management, when to bite the bullet and ask for therapy…you know, important life lessons.
Still, I haven’t been home in a very long time. My niece has little kid arms and legs now, not baby fat like when I left her. I have a new niece now that I haven’t even met yet! And a nephew who was 3 months old when I left him, now looking like a total dude. Life drives on, walks on, grows on, works on. Life continues on a conveyer belt that has never been stopped. When you hop off the belt, life keeps heading away from you, and when you return, it’s likely there will be things you won’t recognize, and vice-versa. On the other spectrum, some things won’t change at all, and you wish they had.
Frankly, I don’t know what to expect when I return. Will it be like old times, not a thing changed. Or will I feel like red peg among blues; out of place and no where to fit. What I am talking about is not uncommon and happens to many who depart from their homes only to return to a land unfamiliar to their memories.
Stop being melodramatic Eric. You’re coming back for a visit….for two and a half weeks…
True. Very true. And yet, this is what I am drawn to on the eve of my visit. The nagging, relentless question of belonging, homestead, and our place in this life. Call it melodramatic, call it existential, call it way too much thinking for a Tuesday morning.
Either way, I’m happy to be seeing many of you very soon. Thanks for reading my mind.