Returning home to Hawaii after six years abroad felt as natural as diving into the Pacific Ocean. It was salty, sweet and refreshing. It was exhausting and revealing in ways that I had forgotten. And it confirmed my decision to stay outside the borders of the United States, coloring outside the lines, looking from the outside in.
While I was there, I thought heavily about the choices I had made and the way HOME had continued to unfold while I was elsewhere. What if I had decided to stay and pursue a “good” job? I’d have a place to hang my invisible hat and in my imaginary dream I’d be stable and smart with lots of worldly goods from Costco and Target.
Instead, I was impulsive and left my passport country with a man who would ultimately leave me for another woman. I returned to teaching which is a laughable, pathetic profession that politicians and businessmen jockey around for financial reasons – and I have no stability, no car, no home, no stuff inside my rooms that showcase showdowns what a successful person I have become.
What have I done?
I don’t know.
When I was in Hawaii, I was chatting with a friend (from ages ago who I recently connected with on Fecesbook) and I was reflecting on here versus there. I confessed that I didn’t know where I belonged and he mistakenly thought I was lost, down in the dumpsters and wrestling with dark thoughts. But the thing about texting and time is that context doesn’t always come through.
I didn’t blame him for thinking how he did, but the conversation made me realize how incredibly transformed I feel from the time when we knew each other, archaeology (post-college) days. Living abroad can be a game changer if you willingly (or unwillingly) are confronted with what is different. It’s kind of like the US is its own enormous house and each State is a unique room. Oh, and how I moved from room to room! But each room lacked something for me.
Moving to Thailand (and Ecuador) was leaving the house, the nest, the net and with that came a rollercoaster adventure I could never had predicted.
Where do I belong? I don’t know. But I’m okay with that because when I try to imagine what could have been, I’m usually very wrong.
Was I better off here or there?
It doesn’t matter, the decision has been made.
I could go back and going back doesn’t mean defeat, actually, quite the contrary because I have the luxurious choice to go back.
I’m rather envious of those with homes and stability, but I think that’s because I’ve never lived in the same house for more than a couple of years since I left Hawaii for college. Even when I lived in the same city for, say 3 years, I moved every year into a new place. It sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But my life just happens this way, not because I want to necessarily move.
This is ironic because the reason why I didn’t stick with archaeology was I didn’t want a nomadic lifestyle. I didn’t want to follow the jobs and go from site to site to keep money in the bank. I also didn’t pursue acting because I didn’t want to deal with constant rejection, but I ended up pursuing writing, which as you know, has zero rejection issues…
So, I don’t want to be a millionaire. I don’t want to be a famous writer. And I want lots of kids.
What is it that they say? “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” I’d say: Life is what happens when you think you are making other plans.