I can’t help but return to the thought of home again. I flew from California to New York last night. I left my parents’ house, a place that has never been home to me per se, I have never lived in that area or that particular house, but it is home because they are there. I returned to a place that I call home, at this point in time, but has only started to truly feel like home in the last two years. I wasn’t quite sure what, or how, to feel getting on the plane yesterday afternoon, so I buried myself in reading and editing work. I have roots and families in two places and it becomes especially hard to navigate and negotiate all of those feelings when I go back to California to visit.
I landed in New York at 12:30AM last night. My body was confused by the sudden time change and the fact that it was so late. I was starting to feel a little lonely as there would be no one to pick me up at the airport and no one waiting for me when I got back to my apartment. I had spent the last week and a half surrounded by people and staying in homes with others. I turned my phone back on to be greeted by a text from a New York friend saying she hoped I had a safe trip and that she had missed me. I instantly felt a sense of calm wash over me…I had returned home.
From the backseat of the cab I watched the city draw nearer until I found myself surrounded by the familiar buildings of my neighborhood. The cab driver, a Chinese man, opened the door for me and handed me my suitcase from the trunk. He smiled, bowed his head slightly, and said, “Happy New Year.” I was instantly reminded of why I love New York so much. This city is a sea of people from all over the world. We collide with people from different cultures, countries, and backgrounds, daily. Holidays, customs, traditions, and foods wafting through the streets for all to partake in should they chose. The opportunity to explore and delight in what is not our own without even leaving the city is magical. I smiled, bowed my head, and wished the cab driver a Happy New Year. It’s the year of the dragon, it’s going to be a good year. I say this based on nothing other than the sheer belief that things have to get better this year.
I entered my building tired and feeling a little lonely as I took in the cold, empty lobby. I took the elevator up to the fourth floor and opened my apartment door. It was strange to find myself in an apartment after having spent so much time in houses over the past week and a half. It was also strange to be alone. I plopped down on my couch and began sifting through my mail. I found a small package amidst all of the catalogs, magazines, and credit card offers. It was a care package from a friend who once lived in New York and now lives in Texas. I suddenly realized that while I was physically alone in that moment I am not in any way alone on my journey through life. While the small gifts in this care package were all things I love, it was the thought, the gesture, that mattered. Just like the text I received upon landing and the email from a friend the day before asking if I was still alive because she hadn’t heard from me in almost a week. I can chose to call anyplace home because there will always be someone reaching out and reminding me that they are there for me, and I get to be there for them in return.