Home is where….

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We’ve always traveled with all of our things. Our home shut up in boxes, shipped across oceans, unloaded and unpacked, bringing our memories and comforts with us. This is the first time we have traveled empty handed, leaving our home intact upon our island. 

It’s an interesting feeling to try and settle somewhere while leaving your home in full bloom seas away. 

In this new age of minimalism, of having less, maybe we need the little we hold onto even more? I have certainly shed with each incarnation, boxes falling by the wayside, things stolen, discarded, and I fully embraced Marie Condo’s wisdom of keeping only that which sparks joy. 

But it’s so much more than joy. It’s our life, tied up, sewn into, bound in our things. 

Some mornings on the island I would wake up before my very early rising children and sit as light sprinkled the dawn and I would be so moved by the beauty all around me. What we, what I had created. Little things, like the plants I nurtured and loved that grew alongside of me. Plants that are still there, being tended to by a friend. Plants I could not let go of.

The rugs I bought while living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan as a young actress, so free and so wild, softening the floors beneath my feet.

The yarn painting hanging above our bed that I got at a Huichol Indian retreat on new years eve 1999, when everyone worried the world would end and I danced in the dawn.

The small metal sculptures of a man and woman I got in Santa Fe with a friend that sit upon our bookshelf. The same friend who would take me to Belize where I would meet a boy who would become the man that became my husband. 

Our things are our memories. 

It’s why I keep this blog, to remember. 

Now I sit in Kenya without my memories next to me, connecting me, threading me to my past. 

I am happy they are still on that mountaintop, waiting for me, for us. 

But my feet feel lonely. The walls feel bare. The bookcase sits empty.

 

Nesting

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This tiny bird has built a nest outside our bedroom window. For two days I watched her fly up with bits of fuzz, twigs, slowly building it. She’s in there now, laying her eggs, or perhaps they have been laid and she is with them, waiting.

We’ve been in Nairobi for just over 2 months now. I feel like this little bird, building our nest, the fragility of this expat life, just hanging by twigs it seems until we abandon it, leave for the next building up. Suspended time. 

I miss my island. Of all the places we could have landed though, Kenya is a soft one. 

We live in a valley surrounded by gardens, in a compound of twenty gorgeous stone homes. We have neighbors to borrow milk from. A playground where kids gather. A community to feel safe in. 

We had a monkey in our bedroom. We now keep close watch on the windows. 

It’s colder than I expected. Even now that the sun is stronger and warming the days, the evenings and nights can ride on a crisp wind. 

My daughter just had a week long school trip to the foot of Mount Kenya. She went on safari, helped a local school paint a mural, planted a garden for a woman and her child from a nearby village. She came home talking of the milky way and poverty and sunsets over mountains.

My son is over-the-moon to be here and loves the African way of life, with people coming and going and drivers and gardeners and guards and I watch him soaking up every moment. 

It’s funny how they surprise you. I thought it would be my son who missed the tranquility of home. I thought my daughter would spin into the chaos like a dance. But it’s she who watches the stars and thinks of currents and snow covered trees and he who is swirling. 

And me, I am this little bird, tending to my nest, keeping everyone warm, hanging on.