Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
I promised a long blog about my trip home, the one trip after being absent for two years, so here it is:
Flying into the BWI, I burst into tears when I saw the Baltimore skyline. The wave of emotion that hit me when I saw my HOME was nothing I have felt before. I felt, to some degree, a feeling similar to a deployed soldier coming home or an immigrant returning to their birth country. Sure, it’s only a small fraction of their feelings, but that feeling of coming HOME was reverberating through my every cell in my body. I was sad for being gone for so long, happy to see the place, upset that El Paso does not have what this place does. And there was an overall sense of awe that has no adjective that can cover that feeling of coming HOME.
Although some things were different, I felt the familiarity.
Take for instance that while I was driving on 29, there is all of a sudden a new exit, that happens to be a toll road, and a spaghetti bridge intersection out of nowhere. The ICC was built and opened at some point! That was only talk when I was there, not thinking it was going to be built. . . ever really. But there it was, in all of it’s fancy glory. It was altogether different yet a normal part of everyone’s lives already.
Even what was the same felt different at first. Taking exits and roads that I used to take, I felt, disconnected somehow. Although intellectually I recognized everything, I didn’t feel as if I were a part of it. But that changed by the end of the trip. I felt myself falling into the same patterns of driving from before, and I was comfortable in a way I haven’t been in Texas or Chicago. Things were different but felt the same.
The people were amazing. It was awesome seeing friends from different parts of my life: childhood, college, work, and even met an online friend in person for the first time! It’s fascinating how so many of us have changed, got married, had kids, bought a house. Yet when we get together with our old crowd, we revert to the giggling high school girls we once were. Not in a bad, awkward way, but in a “those were the days” way. We may be wearing stethoscope and changing diapers, but we are still the people with pig tails and fairy tales. Things were different, but still the same.
I moved away from Maryland 6 years ago, and I left with some preconceived notions. Like that people in D.C. are rude. But being back in D.C. for a week (after living in Chicago, AL, and Texas), I found that people are not just polite, but I fit in with them seamlessly. I used to think people drove crazy at home. But after seeing the drivers down here, who drive like they don’t care about their lives, people in Maryland drive smoothly and effectively.
So there are changes. It’s been awhile, 6 years since I lived there, 2 years since I’ve been back, it’s to be expected. What surprised me was how the same it still was and how I still fit seamlessly into the culture. No matter where I go, Maryland will always be the place where I grew up and made wishes for the future.