Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Home. Is Home relative to where you are?  Where your family is?  Where your mom is?  Where your parents are?  Your center?  Your community?

When we were going home (see I did it without even noticing)--I mean on our way to NY, we were telling Abigail that were going Home.  This brought up the question of where home actually is.  We are a family now.  We, Jack, Abigail, Tobi and I, are a family.  So, Home would be wherever we happen to be hanging our hats together, right?  But still, Jack and I realized, we refer to New Paltz, NY as Home.  It has been years since either of us have lived there, but still, it is Home.   

I have been an Expat for quite a while.  The lifestyle that one lives while in a country not there own is as difficult as it is exhilarating.  I chose to live in Spain for all those years, called there by my passion, my art, but still nearly each week, if not more often, I had to reaffirm my choice to be so far away from Home.  Because it was a borrowed country.  My mother once told me that she thinks that I would always feel like I had a foot in the door of each place.  Not entirely happy in NY when I wasn't in Spain and not entirely happy in Spain because I wasn't in NY.  I would reply that I would be entirely happy in Spain if I could just get my entire family there.

I still feel the same way.

When I was feeling homesick, or questioning my choice to live in Spain, all I would have to do is walk outside and hear the strains of flamenco coming out of someone's window or gaze at the Alhambra , or walk across the Puente de Triana.  That was it.  I would see the swallows making their sweeping arabesques over the river and I would KNOW I was in the right place.

Now, I am in Naples.  When I walk outside my heart does not go a-flutter.  If it does it is more likely the start of an anxiety attack.  I am here because a Senior Chief dropped the ball.  If the ball had not been dropped I would have been in Spain.  I would be dancing in Jerez--learning the mysteries of the Buleria de Cadiz.

I need to LET THAT GO.....

Anyway.  I am trying to feel at home here.  I am trying to come to terms with the idea of blooming where I land.

I am intrigued by this question of home.  Is home where you are or where you left your family?  Is it where you have spent the most time? Is it where you FEEL at home?  

Jack and I feel spoiled.  We both agree that if we had been from some po-dunk town in the middle of nowhere, with nothing to do it might be easier to leave it.  But we are not.  We are from one of the coolest places in the States.  It is where we would choose to raise our daughter.  Unfortunately, we don't see how we could support our family if we moved back...

Anyway.  I am rambling.


New Paltz was amazing.  It was so, so HOME.

But here we are in Naples.  Our house is feeling cozier and more like ours.  We are slowing expanding and filling in the empty corners.   We are finding our favorite nooks to sit and read, our favorite places to drop stuff when we come in the door. We are finding our rhythm, carving our place out in this little town.

Making our mark. I always used to envision being a stick. Yes, a stick. Bear with me.

I believe that expats often are a stick in the mud.  When you pull the stick out, the mud quickly moves in to conceal the hole.  I always felt like that in Spain.  Like when I left my space was quickly filled in by another expat flamenco dancer.  I wanted to be a stick in dry ground.  When you pull that stick out it leaves a space.  People know you were there and they know you are gone.  In New Paltz I always left a hole.  Now our family leaves an even deeper one.  People notice our absence.

I think that makes a place home for me.

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