My next stop is familiar turf.
Last time I was there, it was a few months back. After an uncomfortable seat on an overly long bus ride that followed a sleepless too-long red eye flight, I stopped into a local store for some Ibuprofen. The checkout clerk said she could open it right there and asked if I needed a glass of water. Same city, a few weeks later: I arrived from visiting friends in another country and walked into a theatre 45 minutes after curtain because I hadn’t accounted for a time change. The house manager comped me for the next night’s performance. And…by the third time I’d gone to a local coffee shop, they knew my name, order and which local newspaper I preferred. Don’t have too many experiences like that in many parts of the world.
Have you ever been in a place where you feel roots growing from the soles of your feet? A place that’s new to you, but familiar in almost every way? Where things you’ve never experienced before are more like comfortable reminders and reassurance than surprises? I’ve had this experience in a number of places on a number of continents through the years – even in the US of A. Now it’s time to stay a lot longer in one of these homes.
Am I abandoning America? For better or worse, not really. It’s hard to ignore a world power that collects enemies by the hour and is constipated by a political polarization that’s banished mutual respect from public dialogue. I’m simply moving toward another phase of my life, which happens to be in another country. I still have some wonderful friends in the US – all of whom are welcome to fly or swim over to visit me. Let’s face it, I won’t be able to avoid news of the red white & blue unless I move to a cave, which isn’t in my current plans. [Don’t think I’d have too many house guests if I did this.]
Am I abandoning my past? Of course not. My past is the platform I’ve built that’s allowing me to take this step. The people, places, good, bad and ugly parts of my life have made me who I am. They’ve created ties that will bring me back over the years for one reason or another. But it’s also given me the eyes and wings [ok, frequent flyer miles] to see what’s outside this self-referential closet we call the USA. As the song goes,
Where am I going?
I don’t know.
When will I get there?
I don’t care.
All that I know is I am on my way.
!Hasta la vista, y’all! [Oops, sorry, wrong language. I’m heading east, not south, on this trip.]
Any fellow travelers out there?