Waking Up in America

Yesterday, I woke up in America, but I still felt blissfully empty. This was a lingering lightness, a holdover from vacation that I longed to hold onto: a clarity of mind, and a slackness of shoulder muscles free of worry. It’s a shame that to desperately grasp at keeping such a sense of calm is only to push it further away, because if I could make this clearheadedness stay with me—just for awhile—I’d use all the brute force I could muster.

Most of my time abroad was spent exploring and consuming gelato, but I’ll save the details of those particular kinds of loveliness for later. Right now, I want to tell you about something more unassuming, borne from a threateningly cloudy afternoon in Croatia. I spent part of that afternoon gazing at the Adriatic from marble steps on Split’s seafront promenade; it was a moment midway through the trip in which I stopped to take a breath. In that moment, I found that I didn’t miss my laptop, my wardrobe, my apartment, or any other possessions I’d come to rely on in America. I sat there as an island in this sea of new sights and citizens, and somehow I still felt completely at home—like a baby nestled in a security blanket. Only this was a blanket of new and different stripes, one that I hadn’t realized could provide such comfort to me.

In that moment, the only thing I could honestly say I missed from home was Koko. It was then that something shifted. All those things I thought I needed—my car, my country, my regimented schedule? I wasn’t so sure anymore. At that moment, all I needed was my good health, my people, and a patch of beautiful, unfamiliar terrain on which to start over.