It’s funny how things can change yet stay seemingly the same.
Last week when I told my friends and co-workers that I’d be gone for a week to go home, I was continually asked if I was excited for my trip. I said I was, which was true, but these words kind of just came out. In reality, I wasn’t sure if I was excited or nervous or anything really because my trip didn’t feel real. Things have a way of hitting me very late and this trip was certainly one of them.
It wasn’t until I glanced out the window of the plane and saw the bright, city lights that it occurred to me that I would, in fact, be home within a few swirly swoops in the sky. And I’m not talking about the generic “city skyline” lights. These lights were incredible. They looked like intricate beads embroidered on a flapper dress. And then suddenly the tiny, brightly lit, beads became big and explosive and looked like space craters. I smiled and so did the man to my left.
“Do you know what the weathers supposed to be like in New York?” the man to my left asked.
“I think it’s supposed to be in the 30’s”
“Oh? that is very warm.”
I laughed and figured he was definitely from Wisconsin.
When I finally arrived at my apartment, it felt strange and looked different. The walls had been painted. The elevator was carpeted. All the neighbors on my floor had moved out.
The next morning I woke up and walked to the deli to buy a coffee. The man behind the counter barely smiled and I was outshone by an older, woman who tapped her nails on the counter and bantered back and forth with him in Spanish. I contemplated testing out my third semester Spanish skills but decided against it, took my precariously full coffee, and left.
Within only a couple of hours, I felt back in sync with my old, New Yorker lifestyle. Riding the train, once again, felt mundane and flocks of pigeons were a normal and always unpleasant sight. I realized on this trip that New York is very small. Well, it is not actually very small but it feels that way to me. I guess when you grow up somewhere you have a tendency to think you know everything and anything about that place. I do not think this but, at the same time, New York doesn’t feel like one of the biggest, most populated cities in the world to me; it just feels like home.
Home can be both a good and a bad thing. And I guess there’s really no such thing as “the perfect visit home.” It was bittersweet to come back knowing it was only for a short amount of time but there’s also something very refreshing about only coming back time to time. Last winter when I came back to New York, I didn’t know if I was going back to Wisconsin. I didn’t know if I wanted to. But one year later, I am going to school there, working there, moving into my own apartment there, and currently waiting at the airport to go back there.
I like that I can come home after any given amount of time and it still feels more or less the same. I like that I can appreciate home for what it is now and not feel the lingering need to make change. And I’ve learned that some things are better left alone.
The lights flying into Milwaukee will not be nearly as exquisite as they were coming into New York but that is okay. I couldn’t have asked for a better visit home and will look forward to my next trip back.
Stay real New York