adaptability, Black Friday, Chipotle, connection, culture, disconnected, family, France, home, Jamba Juice, Michael Buble, Miranda Lambert, Morocco, moving, nomad, peanut butter, roaming, starting over, Tabasco, Thanksgiving, The House That Built Me, travel, United States
It’s a word with which I have struggled with unlike any other. Whenever people ask me where “home” is, I hesitate before answering. On Facebook, I list no hometown.
In the days before I left for Europe, while I was at our new “home,” I listened to Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me” with almost obsessive extremity.
That song spoke to me like no other. Perhaps it is a result of my longing for a place to call home, a house that I could one day return to and revisit memories past. (I love Michael Buble’s “Home” as well.)
Many people have told me how jealous they are of me because I get to move to new places all the time and experience new things. While I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the places I’ve lived and all of the experiences I’ve been lucky enough to have, especially during this crazy, international year, I can’t help but be jealous of everyone who have a place to call home. A place they know as home without any doubt or hesitations.
I waited until I was in France to write this post because I wanted to see if being abroad would change my mind about where “home.” I still don’t have a clear answer, other than that it is certainly in the United States. I really want to say it is where my family and friends are, but how can I pinpoint that when they are spread out around the country (and indeed, the world)?
Now that Thanksgiving is coming up, I’m heading to a place perhaps as far from home as I’ve ever been in terms of cultural differences. I’ll be having a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with other Americans and some Anglophile French, but then heading off to Morocco with friends.
Perhaps it will take that culture shock to make me realize where home is. Until then, I feel connected and disconnected from the world all at the same time. It took me more than a month to realize that the photographs of friends and family I had brought with me to put up were still in their envelope. At that point I figured there was no point. (Today I also found rip-outs of magazine fitness exercises – anyone who’s ever gotten caught up in study abroad craziness knows those were a futile effort.) Beyond friends and family, a lot of people here have also said they miss certain foods and things so terribly much. Many have fallen to buy marked-up jars of peanut butter and miniature bottles of Tabasco sauce. I can’t say I have the same urges. Would I like some Jamba Juice and Chipotle? Yes. Do I absolutely need it? No. Some call it a mark of a person distant and uprooted. I call it a mark of adaptability, passed down through the many generations from my nomadic ancestors.
But I do have to say, I will miss the frenzy that is Black Friday shopping.
Until I find my answers, ciao from your resident nomad on the loose.