Oh Beautiful for Spacious Skies
Yep, I’m back in the ol’ US of A. So far, I’ve remastered the art of driving, tucked away my keepsakes, stopped saying words like “bin” and “cheers” and not ordered alcohol in public. So that’s fun.
But in all seriousness, the best way to describe coming home: weird. Not bad, not good, just weird. In a very cliched way, it was almost as if my time in London didn’t happen.
Sometimes I contrast how the ending would have happened in a film versus reality.
In a bad summer blockbuster or indie darling film, it’d go like this:
Girl steps off plane and into airport, make up and hair still inexplicably put together regardless of being in a levitating tin can for 8+ hours. Scene silhouetted against a line of floor-to-ceiling windows through which a sunset is shining. Girl stops, looks back at the plane she just left. She sighs, and begins to walk away.
Cut to car ride home. Now dark, lights wizz past the car’s open windows. Breeze flutters against girl’s hair as she slowly smiles to herself, realizing she is different, that this experience was important, that this homecoming, while familiar, is also a new beginning.
Roll credits to some generic acoustic arrangement of a popular song. Hopeful female singer with raspy voice is integral to this segment.
This is how it really went down:
Girl waddles awkwardly with her myriad of carry-on luggage, including duffle bag, camera bag, sweater, coat, and plastic Boots bag towards customs. She makes eye contact with cute English boy passing by, only to remember that her blackheads are showing and her roots are as greasy as a Chicago style deep-dish. Flustered, she finally gets through customs.
Exiting the baggage claim area, she passes by expectant family members, girlfriends, children, all waiting for their returning loved ones. One particularly American woman (identifiable by the “I Love Jesus” pin busting from the lapel of her too-small jean jacket) looks especially disappointed, as if to say, “You’re not my Darrell. Where’s Darrell??”
Cut to the car ride home. Girl enjoys the holiday stylings of one Delilah on Lite fm while fumbling with the collection of sunflowers her mother very thoughtfully picked up for her.
Girl arrives home, collapses on bed, falls asleep without washing off the smell of jet fuel, only to wake up the next morning at the ungodly hour of 8:00 am on account of her schizophrenic internal clock.
So the adjustment is going okay. The holiday season helps, what with gift wrapping and planning and such. And my birthday just passed, which wasn’t nearly as painful as I expected. My family and I went to my favorite diner in the city and then headed to Lincoln Park zoo to see their light displays.
It’s really just a Twilight Zone marathon over here. Everything feels a just a little bit off, either because of how I’ve changed or because of how home has changed. But it’s getting easier. And the trip was definitely, completely, 100% worth it.
So that’s that, I suppose.
Love and happy travels,