* The following post was penned on our 10 hour flight home from London to Chennai just a week ago.
The truth is I feel more at home on a plane than I do at home in Washington. Or even in Florida. It's a place in between places which happens to be right where I've always lived in some place or another. A place without a place that I thrive.
Even though nothing about Chennai felt familiar in the beginning, or even in the first seven months, coming back here feels a lot more like coming home than leaving home. Like the last time.
I boarded the plane reluctantly, almost getting caught up in passengers boarding flights to Paris and Dublin. I may have threatened to stay in London, too.
We almost lost Peter, about five times. Once in the turnstiles of The Tube in London, once on the train to Terminal C and once down an escalator in Heathrow, but he was instinctively caught up in a sea of saris as we boarded our plane to Chennai. As if he'd finally been found.
It wasn't the swooshing saris for me or the raven black braids of my seat-mates, but instead the first taste of our mediocre Indian airplane food that brought me back. Curdling excitement in my belly for our return to India with spice, flavor memories that had been dampened in the USA.
We're all better for having travelled home. No matter where you are the grass is always greener somewhere else. Some people just believe that, we move. We pick up our fence posts and haul them to those greener pastures. But the thing about greener pastures is that there is always a catch: wind, storms, predators, heavy rains or year long droughts. Or maybe you're just allergic to the grass. This doesn't make it any less green, just difficult in a different way.
Pete stopped biting his nails this summer, my cuticles have healed and so has my head, Sam's hair is poofier, Clementine knows the names of so many family members that love her that she's forgotten all our names, "Whats a name?" And Paul is always Paul, something that never waivers, like the chirping of birds in the morning. No matter where we go or what language they chirp in, they're always there providing comfort.
I've got thousands of notes scribbled on the backs of magazines, in my planner and on Post It notes throughout my bags. I've got plans for the ideas that have been desperately and uncontrollably pinging around my head since we arrived in Chennai. This place creates a fire in my creative soul, but seethes the energy it takes to make them come to life.
All things get better with time, even airplane food. Nine hours into my ten hour flight I'm devouring my South Indian breakfast like I would a crispy bacon, egg and cheddar breakfast sandwich. I have hope that the things I initially found so amazing about Chennai, will remain amazing, and the things that held me back from achieving my goals and blowing the roof off of this two year tour have been beaten by a few months to regroup and get my thoughts in order.
My plans include finally beginning my garden and feeding our bodies it's greens with the fruits of our labors. Watching impossible seeds become possible tufts of lettuce. They include joining a gym and building muscle to support my heart and my mind. To run more and run confidently outside because I am only here and now. To pour more into myself to be a good example to my children about what a strong, healthy woman looks like and to all the women around me that are on the verge of setting themselves free. To love myself more for all I do instead of beat myself down for all I don't. To realize the places I can make a difference and learn to let go of the ones that I can't.
If this so starting to sound a little like the serenity prayer, well, so be it. India requires serenity, but even yoga isn't enough sometimes.
I want to drive more and listen to more music. I want to take more chances with my work and believe that other people will believe in the images that I am passionately creating in this place.
I've been more reluctant to lay down roots here than ever before because I know how quickly two years passes and how hard it is to dig them up. But having returned home to my old neighborhoods this summer and having seen how tall the trees have become, I'm thankful we planted them when we did. They now protect our home from the wind, provide shade and stability to the clay earth in the spring and the neighbor's homes who's owners have changed several times in the passing years.
I want to be more patient with my children because seeing them
through our families eyes I see their perfection, their growth and they're potential more clearly. I'm thankful for my village, albeit far away, I learn more from watching you with your children and with mine than I do from any books.
I'm raising a big glass to the next year and five months. It's got a hell
of a lot of potential and thanks to our family and friends and they're generosity, for filling up our cups this summer until they overflowed.