Thursday, November 12, 2009

erika in the USA: home at last

At long last, I am visiting at home in the great old US of A. It’s strange to be a visitor in my own country: to be here temporarily, to not be able to have one house, city, state, have more of a pull on me than another, to not be able to accumulate anything since all I have for space is my suitcase, to act as a tourist, to have no place of my own to retreat.

But oh, oh, oh, is it good to be home. I LOVE this country. It is glorious and tremblingly lovely and HUGE and full of such spirit and creativity. It (generally) smells good: I practically hyperventilated sniffing at the wooded parking lot on Rt 6 on the way from Boston to CT as the smells of the fallen leaves and adjacent brook and snow in the air and wet dirt filled my hungry soul-belly.

Of course the best thing about this country is that it’s full of people I love. Firstly, my mother, who picked me up at the airport and brought me to the house in Connecticut which has been my home since I was 12. It was so good to be with her again: she’s so practical, so loving, so appreciative of the joys in life, one of my best friends.

After a day of recovering from my 50 hour trip from Bangkok and gorging myself on the delights in her fridge (chevre! cranberries! cider! bitty toasting bread!) we were joined by two of my other favourite people: two of my mother’s siblings, my aunt Pippy and uncle Ross, come in from Berlin and Ohio respectively. Together we spent the next week sorting through the possessions of my grandfather, who passed away last Christmas. We made great progress, and the family talking and stories and pictures and bad jokes and reminiscences and support and shared grief and loving not just for my grandfather but also my long-deceased grandmother and other ancestors was a real blessing. I wish we could have all stayed longer, since we are so rarely together, and so rarely step beyond the barriers of holiday rituals and entertainment and niceties to talk about these precious things and really lean back on the family bonds. I’m not being eloquent enough to do the days justice…

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