Just before traveling back to the US each year, my spirit fills with vivid memories and intense nostalgia. Even before boarding the plane, I can smell the salty beach air mixed with morning dew. I can feel the hugs of my siblings and cousins, hear my dad mumbling about something and my mom talking to the television.
However, each time my arrival back to my hometown surprises me. I discover new things to miss in the coming year and other things that make me grateful that I’ve moved away and moved on.
A few things I miss about New York:
- Breakfast sandwiches, fried eggs on bagels, best eaten with family on weekend mornings
- Trail running among pine trees while attempting to escape the mosquitoes
- Crooked street signs stuck in the sandy ground
- Happy dogs and cats, loved and cared for by their humans
- Summer bbq’s with backyard games
- Baseball games, rooting with hands full of crackerjacks
- Clean, unpolluted air and water was a stark contrast to what I’ve been living in lately.
- Wood built homes that let you talk between rooms with your entire family
- Living near where food grows and buying from farms in the warmer months
- My family- parents, siblings and many cousins remind me of how I grew up and the fundamental elements of who I am.
- The beach first thing in the morning, enjoying the sand before it gets too hot and letting the waves run over your feet.
- Real pizza; thin, greasy and cheesy eaten over a paper plate
Reasons I’m happy to have left:
- Bad language and aggressive driving, what’s the hurry folks?
- “Everyone should assimilate to be American”
- Fear of anything unknown or not understood, I think this primarily comes from the media but it is very real in
- Too much of everything, especially shopping! Stores are so huge and repeatedly surprise me though I was once a shopper in them. And each home has a pantry or basement that could supply a bomb shelter.
- Taxes! Do you know, many New York home owners’ monthly property taxes exceed their mortgage payment? Then add 8-10% to the price of anything you buy.
- Parking fees, regardless of ticket or just entrance to parks or events, you can easily pay $20 just to put your car somewhere for a few hours! When considering this along with the taxes, it makes one wonder, where does all that money go?
- Everyone is entitled to everything and has rights that violate other rights. Everyone is an activist for something, it seeps into politics and has a trickle down effect that influences jobs and even education.
Even though visiting home starts with nostalgia, it ends with a feeling which borders an identity crisis.
I’m not sure how it works out that there are more things I miss than not, but still wouldn’t trade my current lifestyle for any of it. However, the hardest parts are always the same – feeling the lost connections from these years and saying goodbye. Even though visiting home starts with nostalgia, it ends with a feeling which borders an identity crisis.
Are you living away from your hometown and have adjusted to a new life? The feeling of being displaced in what was once your own culture can be hard to explain with words or pictures, and even harder to manage.
Share your thoughts and feelings.