Tuesday, January 16, 2007

'why change the habit of a lifetime?' (rhetorical question, dad)

i have been in search of a holy grail called home. as a teenager i craved california. as something resembling an adult, the two places i have felt home are a small muslim island in the persian gulf, and a small city in the southern bible belt. as disparate as this may initially seem, the basic similarities are uncanny. the instant sense of welcome initiated by a steady stream of locals helping newcomers orient, but often with an underlying guardedness of "other". humidity, torrential downpours, an inability to buy a roll of toilet paper, send a letter, put petrol in your car, or fly into or out of the country/state without being seen. it was inevitable; i had left...and come home.

i am beginning to wonder if TCK years are more commensurate with dog years. i am either experiencing delayed adolescence or my 3rd mid life crisis. i have waxed whiney about travel, adventure, exploring uncharted territories, a need for change and a cessation of stagnation. i have also see-sawed to the other side. my friend in australia from saudi days recently expressed a need for "spring cleaning" her own restlessness. now married, she "severed" the primary tie with her parents. my own reluctance is related to what severing implies. perhaps the black and white term needs to be re-framed as untying, retying and connecting old with new. developmental psychology posits that young children are only able to feel confident enough to explore new environments if they have a safe place, both physical and internalized, from which to leave (and return if it gets too overwhelming and scary out there).

i am tired of starting over; delivering the canned monologue to new people. i am tired of saying goodbye. i was recently challenged that i am not such a travel girl after all- ouch. i actually really dislike some aspects; turbulence, lost luggage, and airports synonymous with goodbyes and terrorists. perhaps a better moniker would be "small town/island girl", "stay at home girl", or "i like to read travel writing of other's harrowing journeys from the couch". i may have been in a holding pattern, circling home all this time, waiting to give my own clearance to land. good thing too, as i think im low on fuel.

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