California is hot. Then cold. Then hot. Cold. Nothing that happened the day before can prepare you for the next. I’ve taken to wearing my swimsuit under my parka.
I’ve been back for 2 months. I felt a tug, or more like I was thrown overboard after attaching my anchor to a speeding boat passing by on its way to refuel and somehow landed here.
Americans are nice. So nice. And they’re everywhere here in America.
I’ve often told people abroad, when faced with not-so-nice comments about my birth country, to think of Americans like puppies. We’re new, young, inexperienced. We can be awfully cute and really like to play. Okay, so sometimes we pee on your rug, but if you just scratch us behind our ears you’ll see our foot stomp as pure ecstasy crosses over our face, and really all we want to do is ride really fast with our heads out the window, panting.
I didn’t expect the refitting to be so awkward. My summers in NY were a homecoming, yet I knew they were a short stop on a u-turn back. This California detour will be a little longer and I find my head doesn’t fit out the window so easily anymore. It’s thicker with the things I’ve seen, the difference I have tasted, so instead of the ride blowing back my ears, I remain in the passenger seat watchful, even as the air feels lovely.
Being an ex-pat is hard. You live alone, isolated from comfort, but it stretches you like silly putty and you start to be able to press against anything and find its image somewhere in the shallows. The more you stretch, the softer you become, reflecting even more, perhaps something now stuck deep within.
I am happy I am back for a while. But it doesn’t feel like a full stop. It doesn’t really feel like home anymore in a weird way. Just another adventure to be had along the road.