I have arrived. It is like waking up from a dream; I think a shadow of myself has been living here these last four and a half years, and now my Stateside self is a shadow and this is real again. The only real, though not.
It is funny; I think one of the most courageous things that I can do is to go home. When three years ago I went back to my first home, I practically had to be forced off the plane. They didn't want to fly away with me still on there, for some reason. But the question of "how will this be home now?" is a terrifying one to come face to answer with.
Arriving in JFK was fine. Boarding the plane to here the other night made me cry. It was not supposed to be practically 5 years before coming back. I have never been away this long before; I have never had to experience coming back with this quality of foreignness to it--not coming back here, to this place, where even my family is now gone from. Where I have changed so much since. Trepidation, and overwhelming and conflicting emotions. Happy and sorrowful.
I wondered what amazing rush of emotions I would see when first setting foot back in Austria again; at the airport where so many many years ago now my family first came through to see three strangers who led us across the border to our new world. I wondered what swell of feeling would rise up in me at the sight of the two castles, the tower, and the colourful highrises of Petrzalka coming into view across the fields and the Danube. There was not even a border to slow down through this time; just the sudden change in language on signs to indicate you moved from West to East. Ah the EU.
But there was nothing really; nothing sensational at all, that is. Just this odd feeling like I was simply come back to this country from a day trip jaunt to Vienna. Like I had never left. The only thing to indicate that I was not here the day before my arrival was this slight sensation of internal displacement--the fact that I am not fully in tune with the rythmms of this place right now, and worse; the fact that I knew it would be so and minded it much less than I had thought I would.
Wandering through the city was bliss. So much exactly as I had left it. And finding all these things I hadn't even remembered would have been lost--the use of centigrade again (so much sense!!), the naturalness of public transportation, the counting of coins. I miss the krown.
It is funny how place is place. I don't know why I grew up with the belief that place could be lost when you leave it. It stays, and morphs in shape a little, but remains its self.
In the airport on my way, I was trying to word out my definition of home a little bit, and I found the words for it. For people like myself, who have many homes, what we come to associate with home is a sense of security and belonging; of peace and contenement, because we wander all our homes with this sense of displacement; of not fully belonging, and of knowing we do not wish to fully belong because that would lose us our other homes. Yet we long for that wholeness. Most other people are able to simply have home be the one place where they are familiar with intimately; the one set of customs and moral values and history and geography and cultural innanities. But ours are many, and varied, and create unending tumultousness in our lives; conflict and an eternal yearning.
So for me, home is not a place, and it is not people, and it is not "finding myself." But it is a carving out of space around myself where I am fully able to be me--all of me (the me of each different country and culture and history)--where I am able to create my own contentment because I am whole instead of pieces. Home is a circle of self-create peace, even in the middle of the eternal longing.
And that is how I know I will be able to leave here again and still be alright; because I can carry all of my worlds with me, and because that is what I wish to do the most.
But for now, it is beautiful and wonderful to be back in this particular place with its wonderful unique texture, and to dissolve myself back into this world so that no one who has not known me knows I am not what I seem; knows that theirs is not the tongue or way in which I only or most often move. This is happiness.