On Coming Home. [In Which I Wax Nostalgic.]

Teaching the "Thriller" dance at Em's Michael Jackson themed birthday party...clearly, her idea.

I will be landing at RDU at approximately 5:20 PM on Monday, June 28th!! There is something about the idea of coming home that absolutely thrills me. I love what I do in Senegal, but I have dearly missed every little piece of home. I have a sneaking suspicion that the re-entry process might be amusing…

You see, I grew up in Eastern Europe, where we read Tolstoy and Proust with mournful looks by candlelight, and at all costs avoid smiling and any eye contact beyond a slight, rather depressed cursory glance as we trudge across gray cobblestone to the nearest café poetry reading. The thoughtless smile directed towards an unsuspecting stranger renders  you instantly categorized as some sort of disturbed deviant who licks parking meters and hears their vegetables talk back to them.

I remember as a little girl,

Some of my crazy family at my graduation ceremony-we roll pretty deep, and fervently believe that every life event should be marked by pomp and circumstance.

when my family would fly back into America I would consciously decide to “turn on my smile”. There was such a stark contrast between the morose Eastern European culture in which I lived, and the cheerful customs men that always asked me how I was doing that day! I imagine that landing in New York to catch my connecting flight to Raleigh is going to feel somewhat reminiscent of that.  After nine months of staring blankly past the leering gazes of men that see me as merely decorative at best, I fully intend to waltz off the plane, enthusiastically greet everyone that I see, and give the befuddled barista at the closest Starbucks my extended life story.

My mini-me and I. Apparently we're the same shoe size now--when did she gets so big?

I can’t wait to be home. :) I can’t wait for front porch swings, and long afternoons swinging in the park. Home to me is rainy afternoons and caramel lattes, the strains of jazz music floating out into the humid North Carolina breeze. It’s the smell of the ocean salt spray at Nag’s Head beach, and running barefoot in the sand with my brothers.  It’s dancing with Stephen [my brother] in the kitchen and playing the first three bars of any song on my baby grand piano, knowing that Ian [my other brother] will almost instantaneously appear at my side to sing with me. It’s coffee and cinnamon rolls at Panera with my Dad, and chicken salad at Café Carolina after church with friends that feel much more like family. Home is [green!] grass, free Dr. Pepper refills, and long drives on back country roads with the windows rolled all the way down and the radio cranked all the way up. For the record, if you are what you eat, this summer I fully intend to be a perfect storm of Hibachi chicken, onion bagels from Breuggers and caramel lattes. [Mom, when you read this, can you go ahead and renew my Y membership?]

With Mom and Ian last Thanksgiving.

It’s going to be incredible! It’s a bit of a bittersweet thing to leave three weeks before the rest of my team, but I have to be back in the US early for a round of pre-op appointments before my surgery. Do excuse the temporary bout of nostalgia-it doesn’t happen often. To all of you in North Carolina…see you in 67 days! [But who’s counting?]


  1. I DESPERATELY wish I could be in North Carolina while you are there! It’s not looking likely like I’ll be visiting the East Coast anytime soon, especially since my family is heading my way for a visit this summer instead, but hopefully we will be in the same state (and time zone!) soon!

    Reading this made me miss North Carolina a little, and I never do that! haha


  2. What the heck is your mom doing in that pic?
    Should I get on your schedule now?
    There’s a Starbucks in both terminals at RDU.
    Emily has suddenly grown up. It happens. But it is really weird. Where did that LITTLE girl go???
    Can’t wait to see you… don’t waste the next two months. God has you there on purpose. For a season.

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