Thursday, 14 June 2012

Homeward Bound

This refrain "I'm going Home! I'm going Home!" has been playing itself over and again in my head today, non-stop. It doesn't matter all the other things coming into my head. It doesn't matter that I might be in conversation with someone. It plays in the background, joyfully, noisily. I'm going home!


Tomorrow I go to an early morning meeting at work, and then from there head straight to the airport. Time to go. Time to say goodbye, time to say hello. Hello world I have left behind these last five years. Hello languages I have only heard in the occasional movies, in internet radio streaming, in albums of christmas music and in my dreams.

I am so excited to walk the cobbles, to meander along the danube, to revisit old haunts. To wander lost circles of places I love. To climb up the heights of the Tatra mountains again, and to follow the trains across the borders that separate my worlds.  To be baptised in the languages I have missed so long.

I keep thinking somehow this won't work out; my tickets will be wrong; I'll have jotted down the wrong date of departure; my car will break down again on the wait to the airport. Or my appendix will burst and I'll spend the whole time in a hospital somewhere--it wouldn't matter where, since the matter would be that it would not be where I want, but in a hospital at all, anywhere--instead. I check and recheck and wonder.

How shall I sleep these last few hours away?

How vividly I remember tonight my first night there, before it was Home, before it was a home. When my family one by one straggled out of our new, strange rooms with the strange mattresses on the floor, and congregated in an upstairs room at three in the morning, bedraggled and wide-awake. We sat around a table and ate the rolls, the newness of their taste filling our mouths; the newness of their taste softened by the familiarity of nutella spread on them. Nutella which I have known (though by other names) my whole life. I feel like that first night again, full of questions and anxieties, full of an odd emptiness--the vast void of the unknown when the knowing lies just out of reach--but in all of that, still I feel also of hope and excitement and wonder.

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