Tuesday, July 3, 2007
I am now back in Dublin, Ireland. I had a great time visiting friends back in the States and seeing places my heart is familiar with. We all went to Baltimore for a night out on the town. We ate some good old PA Dutch Shoe-Fly Pie and Chicken Pot-Pie. Went swimming with friends in the nearby creek. Nice cool water on a hot summer day. We shared lots of stories of the places I have been and things I have done and heard stories from my friends of what I have missed while I've been away.
When we went out and people heard me talk, they would ask me where I am from. In the past when I would meet someone from outside Pennsylvania, they would always ask me if I was from the South, because they said I had a southern accent. The locals in PA always knew it as the Dutch-German accent that most people in this area have acquired over the years. Now you add in the time I have spent in Ireland and my speech is really buggered up. My friends pointed out certain phrases or dialect that I have picked up and I tried to correct that while back in the states. But now that I am back in Ireland, I know it won't be long until I pick them back up.
During the end of my visit I spent a quiet moment out in the backyard with one of my best friends. It was late at night and everyone else had gone to bed. We took a walk out to the field next to the farm and sat in the grass on a nearby hill. The stars shone bright against the dark sky and we were even lucky enough to see a falling star, or it could have been a big bug flying fast and high overhead. We did have a little bit too much to drink that night.
As we sat on the hill that dark, quiet night we talked about life, specifically our lives. He mentioned that he noticed I was quiet at certain points and I seemed to just be watching everyone. I told him that at first it was strange being back there and I was just taking it all in. I felt like everyone was the same as when I left them, but I felt as though something had changed. I soon realized it was me that changed.
As the days went by, I felt myself getting back into the routine of the life I used to live with my friends. We went out to places I was familiar with, saw friendly faces and shared lots of laughs, hugs, kisses, and good times. But something was still different. During my last day there I spent a lot of time just memorizing the faces of my friends, the way they laugh and smile. I wanted to memorize little things about each one that I would be able to carry with me and remember some day in the future when I think of home.
Which led me to wonder about home. Where is home for me? Is home for me the area I grew up in Pennsylvania, the house where my parents lived when they were alive and where I was raised? Or is it my last apartment, or the new place I live in Ireland? I felt a little lost because I couldn't define one place to call home. My friend understood what I meant, but it wasn't a question he could answer for me.
Time goes by fast and before long my time in the States was at an end and I was on the plane back to Ireland. Part of me wanted to stay back in the states and the other part of me was ready to get back to Dublin.
When we landed in Dublin and I made my way through the airport, I was still feeling a little sad. I was once again so far away from the life I used to have. But life, fate maybe, has a funny way of showing you where you need to be.
I went outside to find my man who was waiting to pick me up. We have been dating for several months now. When I found him, he was standing next to his car with a huge, wonderful, beautiful smile on his face. His smile brought a smile to my face and my sadness started to fade away. When I got to the car, I heard the meowing of my cats. He had brought my cats along for the ride to say hello to me. When we got in the car they were loving me up, excited to see me as much I was to see them. Before we drove off, he leaned over and we kissed. He started the car up and we drove heading for home. Before long, my cats settled down for the ride and I sat there just watching him as he talked and drove. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. I wanted to just soak it all in, seeing him again made a feeling of peace come over me.
Later that night at home, we curled up on the couch together, me in his arms. My two cats snuggled beside us. It was at this point that I realized this is home. It’s not the building or the city that makes something home. It’s where you feel safe and secure from the world, where you can lean on the one you love and they can lean on you. Like the stupid saying goes, home is where the heart is. I have heard that saying many times and groaned each time I heard it. But I finally understand what that means. Back in the states, that will always be my hometown, the place where I come from. But home for me right now is right here, with my man and my two cats. This is my place in the world.