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

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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.

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3 replies on “It Starts With Nostalgia

  1. Hello Sativa! You are a gifted writer. I remember you at NAU, with plans to travel abroad and teach in the Peace Corps. So idealistic and such an inspiration! Our silly little jokes and sarcasm about everything! I’m so proud that you pursued, and are pursuing, your dreams and passions! I lived in Hawaii . . . and may go back, but I do miss the culture of a “foreign” country. Though it is in the US, it really isn’t. I am not happy to be back in the continental US and hope to return to rural Hawaii! You are blessed!!! Love Kat

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kat, hello and thank you! It’s true that you can acclimate to a new culture without leaving the US. Many of the thoughts I had about NY go back to my days in Tucson. I had wondering if you were still in Hawaii, we should catch up. Hugs to you and your family. -Sativa

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  2. Your words are powerful and true as always. Nostalgia is the real deal and so incredible, but what is more incredible is feeling grateful for where you are and for living the life you love in a place you love. Though I miss you so, especially our Sundays out on the trails and our adventures, I’m so proud of you for taking the leap and grabbing your life by the reigns. ❤

    Like

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