I found myself back home today. And that's no simple statement because it means I have made yet another home for myself. It means I have laid down roots somewhere new, and it will take time to re-root when I leave. I know all about re-rooting, though, and often look forward to the new adventure it implies.
On those thoughts, "place" has been a frequent subject in my English class this semester, and I have come to understand that my experience with geographical place helps organize my life:
1. There is my birthplace: Hawaii.
2. There is my first-snow place, Wisconsin, which I will only ever remember through pictures of a toddler bundled in baby pink and perched on a sled with her two big brothers.
3. There is my new-sister place of Seattle where I gained a constant roommate for the next sixteen years.
4. My first-day-of-school place, Auckland, New Zealand, is shrouded in mystery and cannot be summed up in any brief phrase related to my educational journey. The mystery comes from the heap of fading memories coupled with the deep impression those years of my childhood made on my life.
5. My it's-scary-to-be-in-a-spot-this-long place still did not lack shifts in scenery. I spent ten years in Bellingham, Washington, and attended five different schools. I was ready to leave with high school graduation but blew many kisses to my beloved Pacific Northwest from my airplane window.
6. My plane touched down in Texas, and this became my I'm-learning-what-I-don't-like place. With a large amount of grace I was able to make it through my freshman year of college and look back with appreciation.
7. Summers since then have been new-adventure places each defined by their own unique settings and life lessons.
8. Oxford was my let's-slow-time place. Somehow I managed to be dragged onto my return flight after four months of study, travel, and Digestives galore.
9. Without a set plan for following my artistic dreams, I returned to Bellingham, which became my semester-from-hell place. Okay, it wasn't that bad, but my job during this period bordered on daily torture.
10. Next I settled in my pinch-myself-to-make-sure-it's-real place -- Westmont College. Set in beautiful Santa Barbara with an exceptional academic reputation, I had toyed with the idea of attending this place since high school. Though far from an idyllic year, it was essential to who I am as a budding artist and ever-hungry soul.
11. Finally having reached the present...I am clicking away at my laptop in my life-is-full-of-surprises place. It is the same campus on which I found myself a foreigner three years ago. Who knew?
I certainly could not have predicted I would be in Abilene again and calling this place home. Granted, I use the term "home" loosely, but when life involves such brief intervals of familiarity, it is required that one embrace the familiar for as long as it lasts.
I loved the familiar sights I encountered as I entered my apartment tonight. Two roommates moving about the kitchen and dropping everything to say hi and welcome back. A bed covered with an antique sari design and fluffy cream colored pillow. Maple leaves filling my window's view.
And what makes a house a home? -- Good food. (That's an important part of my answer, anyway.) Us girls who live here -- May, June, and me (I'm April. Have you caught on yet?) -- love to share in the enjoyment of food, as anyone could have witnessed tonight as I dumped shopping bags on the counter, and my roomies gathered around to ooh and aah at my treasures with me. Then it was May's turn to show off what she got on her own Dallas trip. We plotted our next meal together.
June most graciously offered to make me dinner as I settled back in, and I could not turn down such a proposition. So about ten minutes later I sat down to a delicious meal of cold udon noodles with cucumber, tomato, tuna, carrot, mushroom, and seaweed. Delightful food accompanied by even more delightful company.
I did not exactly plan out this blog post. Or, at least what I did plan was a bit different from the result. I imagined myself writing about the struggle of being satisfied where one is at, especially when one does not desire to stay there long.
However, I am now reminded that planting roots is worth the risks and pains involved. Even if the uprooting comes quickly, having simply opened up allows one to generously contribute to the present setting as well as humbly gain from it.
Alright, I'll stop preaching to myself...
For my own peace of mind, I promise to post a recipe in the coming week. I'm not sure what, but after my exciting trip to Dallas, and all the hard-to-find ingredients I acquired, I am sure it will be a good one!