Posts Tagged ‘homesickness’

Thankful

November 28, 2014

Full of thanks.

Thanksgiving.

On the back of a sporty Harley Davidson, motor rumbling under me, blue sky above me, scuttle of clouds, flash of sun, ocean off to my right, heading down Sunset Avenue, San Francisco.

Thankful.

This is my life?

This is my life.

Quite a bit different from last Thanksgiving when a friend wrangled me an invitation out to Marin to hang out with his buddies from school.

Not that I had a bad time last Thanksgiving, it was just a new time and an uneasy time for me, getting back into being in San Francisco, getting a new rooting in the soil, sandy soil that is.

“What has happened to you,” she said to me tonight as we hugged in the kitchen at a dear friends Thanksgiving celebration.

“I moved out to the Sunset, that’s what happened to me,” I smiled.

Lot’s has happened to me since I have moved to the Outer Sunset and so much of it is so different than what I expected.

I feel constantly and continually surprised by this little community at the edge of the world, the edge of the sea, the edge of San Francisco.

It may just be the best place for me to celebrate this Thanksgiving.

I have a boyfriend.

I have a job.

I have a writing practice.

I have a graduate school application I have to get my ass into gear about and finish up this weekend.

I have a four-day weekend.

Day one.

Well, so far so fucking good.

Go re-read that part about riding around on the back of a Harley Davidson with the sun warm on my back and the Pacific Ocean shimmering in the sun and ask me what don’t I have to be grateful for.

New experiences?

Check.

Friends?

Check and double-check.

So many fine, amazing, and beautiful friends in my life.

Some of whom I got to see today.

And a community that I belong to that has seen me change and grow and evolve and for what may be the first time in a while, certainly in a year or so, Thanksgiving to Thanksgiving, I feel that I belong.

That I am in the right place, that I am in the spot, that I have a spot to come home to and people who want me for who I am and what I do.

I don’t do much, but I do it well and for that I am grateful.

I show up.

On time.

With helpful intentions.

I still think of myself an awful lot of the time, but I am able to be present for others, and for my life, which is one and the same, I think, sometimes, that showing up for my life is a reward and a risk, a dare.

A dare to live outside the box, and sometimes, yes, in the box too.

I felt a moment of gleeful exhilaration on the Harley today.

I was thinking random Thanksgiving thoughts for the past few years, comparing last year to this year and the year prior when I was in Paris and those darn French folks with their ways that don’t celebrate the pen-ultimate American holiday.

With the pen-ultimate American sport–football.

In France it is not football, but futball–soccer.

In French class, Thursday, November of 2012, crying, tears slipping down my maudlin face because what was everyone doing and why were the all in class, it’s a holiday for fucks sake, why are you not having some turkey?

I was crying over a soccer ball exercise in my French class.

I was homesick.

Wow.

Was I homesick if I was homesick for football, which, in case you were wondering, I don’t watch.

I am a fair weather Packer fan, suppose I always will be since I did grow up in Wisconsin.

Twelve years of being, mostly in San Francisco, I am almost a Giants fan (sorry, Gigantes, though, the damn Milwaukee Brewers still have my heart–Cecil Cooper why did you have to give my third grade self that signed baseball?  Robin Yount, why did you have to be so cute? Gangly, yes, but hella cute, you know?), but nowhere near a 49ers fan.

Sorry folks.

But yet, football, a soccer exercise, French class, Paris, what was I doing, so far away from home?

How could I be homesick for something I never really liked?

Especially when I was in the city that I had been pining to be in for so long?

Fantasy.

That’s the haps.

I was fantasizing.

It gets me every time.

I shot the Paris fantasy in the foot and I am good with that and don’t doubt that I will go back, I have friends there, fellowship, and I love Paris, it’s a beautiful town (a little too much dog poo, but you know, every city’s got to have their thing), but I don’t want to live there again.

Nope.

I want to live here, in San Francisco, out by the beach, fog or sun, rain or shine, this is my place and it feels like my time.

The second thing that happened that Thanksgiving back in Paris that made me homesick?

Sons of Anarchy.

Yup.

I had downloaded the episodes on my laptop, this self-same archaic, almost obsolete little machine, and cued one up to watch that rainy night in Paris after having an awkward ex-pat dinner at the Lizard Lounge in the Marais, I had gotten lost trying to find the pub and was still feeling a little sorry for myself if the truth were told.

My room-mate came in blustery from the rain and work and sat for a while then we took a cab back to the 9th arrondissement, to rue Bellefond, he dropped me and went to go hang out with friends in the 18th for another ex-pat dinner.

I stayed in, made a cup of tea, sliced up an apple and had it with some creme fromage and watched Sons of Anarchy.

You know you’re homesick when scenes of the motorcycle gang rolling through the dock yards in Oakland make you tear up.

Yeah.

I am not ashamed to admit it and today, remembering it, I chuckled.

Two years later, one year of living it out, making it work, not knowing what was going to happen or how, just living it to the best of my ability one day at a time, I’m here.

In the city I belong to on the back of a Harley driving down Sunset Avenue heading home to back an overnight bag to go over to my man’s place and enjoy the gifts of being a local.

I’m not a native San Franciscan.

But I am a local.

And I belong.

For that, and so much more I am utterly and completely grateful.

Now excuse me.

I have someone to go canoodle with.

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

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Now What?

November 29, 2013

So, this whole “holding space” thing is starting to make me wonder, what for?

What am I holding space for, or whom?

I turned down a nanny gig for tomorrow.

I turned down a house sitting gig for this weekend.

I don’t have plans people.

I have three days off, three days into the six-day staycation.

I have a lot of “selfie” photographs from the beach.

I have slept well.

I have cried a little and drank a lot of coffee.

A lot.

I am like a recreational coffee drinker.

Sure, I’ll have a cup.

In fact, I had two tonight after the six o’clock point, which is so rare as to be a phenomenon of sorts for me.  I might be up to go clubbing, hit me if you want to go dancing, I am jacked up.

Unlike the fellow comatose friends who I just recently left.

I just got in from Marin.

From a house full of people I did not know.

But with a standing offer to come back anytime.

I think I got along well.

No doubt that my friend’s friends were going to be good people.

And they were and it was really nice to be a part of a gathering, to help out here and there, to chase the two-year old around the living room and snuggle with the dog.  To talk with the mom who is expecting and the dad who had the worst best holiday sweater that promptly came out once the dessert was being served.  To help wash dishes and to smell the smells of Thanksgiving.

And actually watch some football.

“Why are you crying?” My friend Wilmein asked me last year in my French class in Paris.

I was looking out the plate-glass windows at the mottled dark sky leaking rain, the inside of the windows starting to steam from the bodies in the class room, and the various voices, German, Japanese, South African, South American, and me the American, practicing our “futbal” excercise.

I had been struck by the worst homesickness I have ever had on Thanksgiving last year in Paris.  I had just been in the class room a couple of weeks and had already been making friends and Wilmein was such a pumpkin.

“It’s Thanksgiving,” I whispered under my breath, “I, I am supposed to be home watching football and eating too much pie.”

Although I had done neither of those things in years, that was what I was supposed to be doing, not studying a soccer composition for a rhetoric lesson in French.

“What is Thanksgiving?” Wilmein asked.

Jesus.

Of course, like they celebrate an American holiday in South Africa.

I told her.

“Oh!  You’re homesick!”  She said it sweetly and patted my arm.

Indeed.

I was.

I was not tonight.

I was a little uncomfortable every now and again, but for the most part, I felt quite warmly welcomed and it was nice to be in a group of people celebrating their friendships and connections, listening to stories, though not mine, still stories, of home, and I like me a good story.

I like to tell myself some “good” stories too.

That I am alone or unwanted or not loved.

Such bullshit.

I am loved.

I love, there for I am loved.

I had wonderful texts and messages and phone calls all day today.

I got to talk with my mom for a little while, I sent my little sister a message, my grandmother, my aunts, I got phone calls from dear friends, and I got to spend some time down at the beach walking in the tides.

The waves so mighty and gigantic, I saw very few surfers and it was wild.

The sun was warm and I felt really blessed to be down walking the shore and listening to the lull of the waves.

My brain said I was alone.

But my heart said, no, you are confusing “alone” with “lonely”.

Yes, you are alone, but you are not lonely.

I had the song of the sea and the memories of past Thanksgivings keeping me company on the shore.  I had the love of friends old and new reminding me that I was thought of and often.  I had my own good company and that of the wind and the ravens on wing in the warm air.

I didn’t really feel alone.

And I didn’t feel homesick.

I felt at home.

I can be an isolated person and I work at rectifying that, but sometimes the deep serenity of being on the beach is a kind of company that I have only experienced by myself.

Sure.

When I saw couples walking on the beach holding hands I wanted that too, still do.

It is a bonfire scented night, the skies are clear, I have the next three days off, I want to walk on the beach and hold someones hand and be kissed under the stars.

I am a romantic at heart, in nature, and that is a want.

But it is not a requirement to having a deep and meaningful relationship with my community, my fellows, my friends, and frankly, with myself, or my home.

Or my city.

Seeing San Francisco lit up like a Christmas ornament tossed down from the heavens as we crossed back from Marin through the Golden Gates, I was so enthralled with her beauty and so grateful that I was home, again, here, now, not saying good-bye, but rather a new hello, a new experience, a new kind of life here in this city which I continue to get to live in, be captivated by, and romanced.

I was deeply thankful.

I am grateful for many things.

Not the least of all the time that I have over the next few days to continue my homecoming.

That’s what this Thanksgiving feels like to me, a homecoming.

I am home.

This is it.

From one side of the city with the Embarcadero One light up with Christmas lights to Ocean Beach with Orion rising over the black waters, shimmering luminous above me.

This is where I am meant to be and this is where I shall stay.

I have meaning.

Here, most of all.

I belong.


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