threading together continental drift

“Welcome back to the continent.” And then he immediately took me upstairs at the airport and ordered me an Illy coffee. It seems Luigi knows my weaknesses enough to realize one way to soothe me is with my favorite coffee as part of the homecoming. That and a drive up in the hills for a meal and a view. To steal his phrase, it was “beyond expectation” and very much appreciated.

Still, coming back this time seems tinged with sadness. It’s not that I’m not happy to be here and in this life again, but having so much love stretched across the Southeastern section of the United States makes for a hard parting. Having my parents close and chatting in the same room as me, being able to visit friends by hopping in a car, knowing your brother is coming for dinner, and being woken by insistent hungry kitties are just a few of the joys of being there and the pains of living here.

And being here, well, I write about it all the time, so you have an idea of why I love it. I’ll add to that being embraced by a man I love and who loves me, challenges me and makes me laugh — well, that is a large part of here.

Maybe that is where the sadness comes from. The awareness of impossibility. I can not be there and be here. If I could, you know I would. Rather than let it go though, I try to recreate. And I brought over some light-weight and entirely packable things to help— small props of my emotional landscape. First, the background of my babymac is now a picture of the kitties that I took with Shelby’s camera. So every morning I can still see them. Second, I stole 2 of my dad’s cookies from Lori’s bag o’ cookies. I am allowing my self a crumb or two a day until there are no more. I bought 2 magazines and 1 newspaper to read, a box of note cards to write on, several recipes. On my bed stand there is the stuffed bunny that is similar to Lori and Shelby’s that we all bought together. My mother’s scarf is draped in my room and there is fresh Zoë art for the fridge. Life is reflected in details, and I believe happiness is as well.

And of course there are memories. So before mine dissipate into nothingness, I’m going to journal my homecoming adventures and tales. After all, ink binds us. Expect more posts, because it helps writing to everyone in this way and my intimates should anticipate more cards and mailed goofiness. (That is the closest I come to a resolution.)

The biggest prop of all is finding new ones. So I’m here, gathering my “here” happiness, slowly unfolding outside of my skin again. It can be chilly, but like all good reptiles, I seek out and collect the warmth.

All of this keeps me from drifting away from my being (you the people, sounds, place, food — you know, being). My true self. And my true self is becoming more and more a person of there and here. Rather than allow for a tear in me, I’ll try to thread the elements together, create something new, remain humbled by impossibility, and strive for definition.

7 responses to “threading together continental drift

  1. When you return I am going to say “Welcome to the continent” instead of “welcome home”. I realize your home involves two continents, and I am cool with that. Italy has better coffee. Tennessee has better hills. Thank you for a wonderful homecoming. We miss you, but are happy that you vowed to write more. “Ink binds us” is very true. I think I will have a T-shirt made with that, and sell it at book fairs. What percentage do you need if there are profits?

  2. Whether you are here or there, you are always in our thoughts.



  3. I identify with living in two places at once and I’m in the same country. I can only imagine the jolt of difference across continents. Nevertheless, I can’t help but sense your contentedness upon returning.

  4. As just terrible I feel and so sad as I am to disagree with your mother, but… Italy to Tennessee in Hill Quality Analysis is like comparing creamy tender liquid-center chocolate from a side street off Grote Markt in Brussels … to… a Walmart Supercenter in Brandon Florida’s half-priced Chocolate Santa Sam’s Favorite sold in late February.

    That said, it is good your sweet mother, who I would never wish any ill upon, is thinking about changing her T-Shirt collection It continues to get people in trouble, as in the photo I tool a couple of days ago off Oxford street:

    As for your curse of living on two continents, how troubled you must be. I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to understand this um fate because, uhmmm, some people out there in our nation don’t have maps and uh, I believe that our, I, education like such as uh, South Africa, and uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should, uhhh, our education over here in the US should help the US, uh, should help South Africa, it should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future, for us.

    Miss you even with your gene pool. Love from London. When visit, little Pea?

  5. Now, now Stafford. I hate to interject and be the reprimanding overseer, but Tennessee hills are a thing of beauty and in no way resemble Wal-Mart chocolates. Italian hills are cypress laden gods, but the Tennessee hills are vivacious colorful pagans (in the autumn especially).
    I’ll visit you soon. Prepare yourself. Maybe in the spring. I need to give England another chance.

  6. Dear Stafford should remember that I introduced him to Neimann’s chocolate after my week in Brussels back in the 90’s. I exchanged apartments with Robert from Canada, and returned with delicious chocolates. I have never bought a chocolate Santa from Walmart or any store. I do not buy chocolate bunnies at Easter. The T-shirt idea was in jest. I must say the London photo was amusing. Thank you for defending Tennessee’s hills dear daughter.

  7. admilumi

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