9:25am: running on fumes...stayed up until six in the morning (yes, I went that kind of crazy) unpacking and cleaning my apartment. I am back in Rochester, settled in, and ready for a new school year. The past two weeks have been a series of "coming home"'s for me, and it has all been exhilarating and exhausting.
The concept of home is complicated for me. Because I feel at home in so many places, I also never feel completely at home. It is a blessing and a curse.
The first place I consider home in America is Houston, Texas, where I grew up. Or, the suburb, SPRANG (spring), to be exact. The first feeling of being home came right as I stepped off the plane: this unbelievable mixture of roasting and suffocating as you step into a 100+ degree jetway. Oh, Houston. My dear friend Tanya picked me up at the airport and we drove straight to El Tiempo, one of my favorite Mexican restaurants. Everyone knows that good Mexican food is the cure for jet lag, right? For the record, I slept straight through the night.
Texas' ridiculousness always makes me feel at home. I mean, where else can you find a state-shaped cheese and cracker tray or a red solo cup the size of a flower pot?
On a more serious note, The Rothko Chapel is a special place in Houston where I always feel at home. Since visiting for the first time about three years ago, I have been making it habit to visit each time I am in Houston. To me, it is the most sacred of places to be still and reflect on spirituality. To anyone who will be in Houston, I highly recommend a visit. Here is a link to their website.
Home number two is the Northern New Jersey/ New York City/Long Island area. After being gone for so long, I was completely taken aback by that beautiful view of the Manhattan skyline as I was driving across the George Washington Bridge. I actually enjoyed sitting in traffic for two hours on the Cross Bronx expressway, and I smiled at the lady that cut me off and then gave me the finger. Welcome home! I only had the chance to go into the city for one evening, but it was just what I needed. I missed everything: the nasty smells, the paying $24.50 to park for 2 hours, etc. (well, not sure how much I actually missed that part...) I have countless memories of going into the city that date from early childhood until now. When I take a breath in NYC it feels as if I am breathing in the energy, the hustle and bustle, the impatience. It is actually a big part of my character...for better or for worse!
Long Island is where my Grandma/Grandpa and a handful of my aunts and uncles live. Arriving at Grandma's house and sleeping in a bed I've known since I was born was an amazing feeling after the months of travel. The bagels, the pizza, the beach..don't even get me started. I also got some dancing lessons from my younger cousins, who taught me how to "nae nae"...this was a sad sight to see. I think I'll stick to viola....
Binghamton, New York. Another home. I stopped by for a few hours during my drive up to Rochester to talk with my (other) Grandma and catch up with some more aunts/cousins. Even the nursing home where my grandma has been living for the past year or so has begun to feel like home, and I've come to really cherish the memories I've built sitting around in a circle with my grandma talking about anything from old times to jewelry to how the nurse's butt is too big. (love you, Granny!)
And, at last, Rochester, my home for the past four years. Walking down Gibbs Street and looking at The Eastman School still makes my heart as happy as it did when I first arrived four years ago. I'm looking forward to Javas coffee, Sibley study sessions, sunny walks down Park Avenue, and some really incredible music making in the weeks ahead.
Sometimes I feel like a chaotic mess doing all of this running around, but I accept the fact that my restless heart won't let me stay still! It is my goal to find and create these feelings of home where ever I am...whether those feelings come from a taco, a traffic jam, or a smile on someone's face. I'm so excited for all of the new beginnings coming up in my life. In two weeks I will begin student teaching in the Webster and Penfield School Districts. I'll be done in December and after that..who KNOWS. I'm on the threshold of the most terrifying and exciting parts of my life.
(an aside: Yes, I will write more about Germany and the rest of the summer. I will be using Throw back Thursday to my advantage in the next few weeks!)
Here's to home...