Every trip home has its issues.
There’s the hassle of pulling my stuff together at work, a thankless task intended to keep the fallout to a minimum until I get back on the merry-go-round.
Then there’s the putting my house in order: the sitter, the travel documents, the over-packing, the travel-sized toiletries, the last-second remembering.
The goal is to be sufficiently sorted so that I’m not worried while away. Right.
Then there’s the anticipation of seeing family and friends, and reminding those who are here that I’m leaving, but I’ll be back … home.
And the Travel Olympics: bolting out the door at an ungodly hour to get to the airport in decent time; besting the ticket counter
bullies agents; warming up for the security striptease; qualifying for the boarding gate follies.
And so I head home.
I marvel at how I switch from one society, one culture, one mindset to the next. Despite the technology that melds both worlds, the differences between McKnight and Maryland are stark. Yet, I, a shape-shifter in peak form (seemingly), merge easily back into the cadence of loud laughter, lively language, and languid living that are comfortingly, distinctively Caribbean.
But which world is truly home? After 20 years of not living full-time in the Caribbean, it becomes a stretch for me to consider it my home. I feel at home in a place that shouldn’t be home to me. Yet, the original home beckons to me, and the push and pull, the repelling yet attracting, begin. I straddle two worlds; in but not completely of either one. I am not “fully assimilated.” Nor do I want to be.
This dual citizenship leaves its imprint. I’ve learned to be at (relative) peace with it and to cull best practices, for want of a better term, from each “home.”
In a few days, I return to the “developed” world. But which one really is the developed one? Aren’t we West Indians forced, due to our limitations of size and resources, to be more “developed” in order to compete and excel–and thus be “at home”–in the so-called developed world?
I think of the apostle Paul who, with his characteristic candor, draws us into the wrestling within his soul. He embraced the tug-of-war, recognized the difficulty of reconciling both “homes,” considered the lessons learned, and kept it moving.
And so do I.
How do you juggle the tug-of-war between your “homes”?