As you may know, my family and I spent the Christmas holidays in Germany. It was quite a stressful trip, but I will write about that another day. The thing that was most profound to me was that upon entering the US again, I felt at home. Everything felt familiar, I finally felt more relaxed and at ease after a long journey.
So, what is different that suddenly I feel more at home in a foreign country than the one I grew up in? I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I have changed. I’m a mother now. I gave birth to both of my children in the US and this is where they have spent their lives to date. This is where I learned how to be a mommy. And where to get the best clothes, shoes, health care products, organic foods, etc.
When I was by myself on the tram in Frankfurt, Germany, I was nervous. We were visitors there and we stuck out in the crowd. People looked at us curiously and treated us like tourists. I had to ask my friends where the nearest playground was, etc. Frankfurt used to be my city, but it didn’t feel like that anymore. Moving through the crowds downtown was different as a mother with two children then it had been by myself. It was not longer charmingly familiar.
Today, I was driving around and a disgusting smell entered the car from outside. I sniffed the air and a little light went on in my head- skunk! It is an unmistakable smell, once you know it. And that is when it hit me: Things have become normal to me here. I now know what a skunk smells like and I don’t even think about how strange it is to be living in a place that has these funny little creatures anymore- it’s just how it is where I live. I guess I’m more at home than I thought I was.