As the old saying goes….you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, right? This rings especially true when living in foreign lands. I had forgotten so many emotions and feelings that only seem to exist when I’m living abroad. Capturing and remembering those feelings/thoughts/frustrations, etc. was a big reason I even started blogging. As I sit here listening to the array of blasts out my window, I’m reminded of how deeply rooted our connections are. Not only with people but with everything really. I mean can one really imagine their life as an entirely blank slate? Living abroad is seriously like being dropped off on another planet and being told “go.” It’s complicated and so hard to capture with words alone. It’s as if you are stripped of everything familiar you know. We connect with everything. Driving. Being allowed to log on to Facebook. Fourth of July fireworks. You name it.
It’s all a connection. I feel connected here. This is home.
I remember being abroad in Japan a few years ago over the Fourth of July. It was so odd as it was just another day with business as usual. I didn’t recognize how important these traditions and events were to me until I was without them entirely. There were no BBQ’s or traffic jams to sit in heading up north. No campfires. No random firework stalls on the side of the road. I felt like I was on another planet. That feeling strikes me quite often when I’m trying to use my make shift Mandarin with charades when trying to communicate with the Chinese. I always knew being abroad made you appreciate what you have back home. I can’t say it enough though. I really wanted to make it home in time for the 4th this time around. I just wanted to be in an environment I know. I wanted to feel included in an important day for my country. I wanted to hear the random fireworks boom out my window and see the neighborhood kids playing with their sparklers. I wanted to experience the smell of those having BBQ’s with their friends and family. I wanted to see people sporting their red, white & blue and know that I belong here too. I get it. It’s my country. It’s my home.
Happy Birthday America. You really are the land I love.