dispatch 66: leaving home, coming home


Guten Tag, y’all!

Today, I watched a TEDTalk by Pico Iyer entitled “Where is Home?” Perfect timing, as I’ve just returned to Germany after my first visit home (to America) in almost two years. (Note to self: plan to stay longer than two weeks next time). I felt like he was speaking directly to me when he said:


…most of the kids that I meet are much more international and multi-cultured than I am. And they have one home associated with their parents, but another associated with their partners, a third connected maybe with the place they happen to be, a fourth connected with the place they dream of being, and many more besides. And their whole life will be spent taking pieces of many different places and putting them together into a stained glass whole. Home for them is really a work in progress…. | Pico Iyer


Maybe this is why, when my granny asked how I felt about returning to Germany, I told her I wasn’t sure. “It’s complicated,” I’d said. “It feels like I’m leaving home and going back home at the same time.” Because she knows me, and because she knows this feeling, she smiled and said, “I know.”


Home: my language, in my dialect, with my folks. Sweet tea and grits and afternoon thundershowers. Ebony magazine. Cousins everywhere. The place where I worked after school, the place where I went jogging with our dog, the place where our house used to be.


But home is now Deutschland, too, not just Englishland (as the Babycakes calls it). It’s the place where I got married, the market where I buy strawberries, that restaurant with the ridiculous (in a good way) lasagna.


As my two weeks in Alabama flew by, and as I watched the Babycakes play with his cousins and learn things he probably wouldn’t in Germany (such as–ahem–“five on the blackhand side”), a part of me wondered why I left all this behind for cold winters and a culture that is sometimes bruisingly brusque.


But then the Trayvon Martin verdict was handed down. And I remembered that at the end of the week, one of my favorite cousins would be returning home to Sanford, Fla. And I remembered that no home is perfect, but that some homes feel safer than others.


So when I stepped off the last plane that brought me to Germany, I was thinking about all of the people back home. And I was also thinking how good it felt to be back home.

One Comment

  1. Oh how I enjoyed this post! I can relate to having two homes and with living in Texas temporarily I have three. Sometimes I wonder where “home” will be years later. Glad BabyCakes learned the five :-)

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