Sunday, September 28, 2008

Feels Like Home

In the past year, I have lived in three different countries. I have changed apartments four times. I have had three different jobs. And counting. The Spanish word for folks like me is vagabunda. My grandma calls me a gypsy. I like to think of myself as a traveler.

But even the most hard-core travelers get tired sometimes. They grow weary of packing and re-packing their few wordly possessions into backpacks/suitcases/garbage bags. They get tired of juggling bus schedules and plane tickets and waking up in different time zones and speaking different languages. They want a place to hang their proverbial hats.

In short, they want a home.

Up until last week, I thought that my home was going to be Culiacán. I arrived in the city in late July and did some serious nesting very quickly. In a matter of weeks, I rented an apartment. I bought a washing machine. I made fast friends with an amazing crew of 20-something Culichis. But, as you well know, my plans changed very quickly.

This week, I'm back on the road, suitcases and bus ticket in hand. The thought of starting over again (again) in a new city is exhausting. Learning the ropes at a new job. Looking for a new apartment. Buying a new washing machine. Making new friends.

So it was nice to get a little dose of home this weekend. On my way to Oaxaca, I stopped to visit some old friends in Mexico City. From Mexico City, we traveled together for another friend's wedding in Querétaro, the city that served as my home when I was an exchange student back in 1999. Despite the fact that nearly a decade has past since we all lived in the same city (or the same country, for that matter), we've been able to keep in tabs on each other. I've visited them here in Mexico. They've come to Chicago. And we've shared pictures, emails and the occasional international phone call.

I can't describe how nice it was to see everyone -- in person. How nice it was to be back in a familiar city. How nice it was to kiss and hug and laugh together. I'd forgotten how good it feels to be with old friends -- people that know your history and can appreciate all of the twists and turns of your path in life. It was just what my travel-weary soul needed. A little dose of familiarity in what has otherwise been a time of contstant flux. A little reminder that there are folks here in Mexico who really know me (and love me anyway). A little boost to get me through what will certainly be lonely and frustrating times ahead as I transition (yet again) into life in a new city.

It felt like home.

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