Arriving in America felt like the prodigal daughter coming home to see her family for the first time in two years.
Sounds a bit dramatic, however that is exactly how emotional it was. You often don’t know what you have before it’s gone and for me, I had been too far gone to remember this life I had buried.
There are many things I learned from continuously making friends along my journey, however there is nothing comparable to the emotion that sweeps your body when you reconnect with a familiar soul. Communicating in words unspoken, all those monotonous questions of “where have you been?” and “where are you going?” seem to slip below the cracks to a fuzzy place where you don’t have to pretend. It didn’t hurt that this place so happened to be in my favorite bay of St. Thomas, tucked away in my Aunt’s house, littered with yachts and my mom’s entire side of the family.
It got better as I returned for my leg of the trip, final destination: TEXAS. I remember completing my travel journal on the plane and feeling somber as I thought to myself “The plane could crash, and I could actually die right now, and be perfectly happy with life”. But little did I know my mission wasn’t complete yet, not without seeing the beautiful hill country in which I called home.
Life was at a monumental pause for eight weeks of non-stop taco runs, margaritas, live music, plays, design, dance halls, two-stepping, and hiking trails with old and new friends. It is exactly what I needed after the beautiful burdens I carried from countries. Being away from home was apparently the only way to really taste home, and similar to liking vegetables when you grow up, I found a new taste and love for my Lone Star State.
Funny how meaningless Texas, and America in general, was to me when I originally set off on my journey. It was eye-opening to find myself in complete gratitude and appreciation for the people who have backed me up for so long. It is indeed true that you find out who your real friends are when you notice a surprisingly shift in the people who reach out to see you; some old and others you wouldn’t have imaged ever hanging out with.
So whatever side of the globe you come from, don’t underestimate the value of the people living there. Whether you realize it or not, they become personal cheerleaders; charging you up while you go through the darkest moments of your life. They may not physically be by your side during these extreme experiences, but their energy and ability to live vicariously through you will subconsciously push you through and towards your next obstacle, thus making you a better person.
I guess what I am trying to say it Texas is amazing, and it took me a long time to realize it. Up until thisreunion, I claimed no ties, nor pride to my roots, because I was afraid of them defining me. Yet coming home to find I actually wanted to be defined to those roots was comforting, and to see their friendly faces again was more than enough to refuel me for my next mission.