I recently found this reflection that I wrote in my waning days living in Grand Rapids (ot be honest, I think I wrote it during exams, which probably explains some of the tone).
But I find this balance between home and what I can only describe as “not home” something with which I am constantly struggling. A delicate balance between home, that is with people I know and love, and away, that is somewhere new, unseen, untasted.
It amused me to read this reflection because there have certainly been days when I’ve felt this same way about DC, when I’ve thought that maybe I am making a big mistake moving out here. But there are days when the smell of Sami’s gyros and the memory of a cool wind off Reed’s Lake makes me think that, in a second, I would move back to Grand Rapids, even for a moment, to visit a place that will always have a place within me, just like Ghana, just like Chicago, and I assume, just like Washington, DC.
* * * * *
I’m beginning to wonder, though, if this wanderlust is really more of an urgency just to be away, to go, than it is an urgency to go somewhere in particular. Not just a need to be somewhere but a need to be somewhere else.
There are times when I look around and am suddenly overwhelmed by an inexplicable loathing for this place — for its smallness, for its familiarity. Things I once loved, was infatuated by, I now find in ways repulsing. I’m not sure if I am becoming adult, leaving things behind, or if I am merely and entirely plagued by immaturity, if I am just spoiled and selfish.
It’s difficult for me to say, now, why I am so discontent. I’m not sure, if perhaps it is because I know here too well or, more likely, if it is because here knows me too well, prevents a recreation, a reformation, of self. What is it about this place? I suppose, perhaps, it must be because this place is no longer home, or it is too much home. Like wrapping oneself in a warm blanket when it is cold outside, it is comfortable for a time until it becomes too hot. I think perhaps I need to get out.
I don’t know. I’m not sure yet if this place will ever be, again, home or if my heart is now in too many places, too spread out, that the fullness of every place will be marked by the small bit of emptiness, by the little bit that it lacks. I imagine each place is a trade-off. Familiarity left for excitement, newness. Comfort for being alone.