Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Where You Leave Your Boots

I left frigid Indiana late last week for a Tour dé California Agriculture.
A warm, green place full of fruits and nuts. And wine. 
It's interesting and vibrant and eccentric. 
Still, it's not home. 
My frozen (but thawing) heart was still in Indiana. 

I landed in San Francisco and there was someone at the airport anticipating my arrival. 
While holding a "Sankey" sign, he kicked off the conversation by asking: "Indianapolis. You like Luck?" It took a few moments and questions of clarification to realize he was speaking of Andrew.
He kindly carried my bags and loaded everything into the car as I tried to follow his sports questions - but there was a clear language barrier. And I'm not just referencing our origins; this guy knew his sports inside and out...and I so do not. 
In between dodging pedestrians along Fisherman's Wharf, he acknowledged points of interest and continued to ask me about sports in Indiana.
Desperate to change the conversation to anything but sports, I asked him the first thing that came to my mind: "Where are you from?"
"Came from Hong Kong fifteen years ago," he answered, making eye contact with me through the rearview mirror. 
"So, fifteen years; I assume you like it here?"
And that's when I got a broken-english answer I wasn't looking for. 
"Actually if I have good health, good people that love me, all around me, I can live anywhere in the world...."
He continued as I looked at the bay outside the window; so, so far from home:
"You could send me to Texas and I could even be happy there with good health and good people that love me around me."
Even Texas, I laughed to myself. He made it sound like Texas was a most dreadful place.

This man's home is where people love him. 
Words from that stranger really hit home for this gal who knows the forced feeling of trying to make somewhere home, rather than allowing it to become that space. His words took me back to DC. He reminded me that there is a certain peace in making a home your own. 

It may not have the same creaky stairs or  view outside the southwest corner bedroom, but as time changes things, home may change a bit, too. 

Where is home for you?
The place where they took you in, no questions asked?
The house where you sat at the top of the steps every Christmas and waited for the "OK!" to run downstairs?
The place where the person you couldn't love still lives?
The little apartment tucked inside a big city 1,022 miles from home?
The place where you found yourself?
The place you left because time made you?
Where grandma lives?
The place where they accepted you despite your past - but in light of your future?
The place that you didn't know if you'd survive?
The place where you take off your boots at night - maybe several places within a year?
Home can be a lot of places. 
Home is where you make it. 

A few weeks ago I read this from a gal who grew up just three homesteads down from me: 
"The trouble with being blessed to call multiple places home is that a little piece of your heart is always someplace else." - Jessica 
How true that is. 
Home, according to the driver, is where he has good health and good people to love him.

As I write this, I am in a hotel outside Los Angeles. 
And while I feel like I am a world away from the place I call home, I'm reminded that it is up to me to determine where home may be. 

So, in light of the wisdom passed on by the driver in San Francisco, I have clothes strung from the hotel room door all the way to the balcony. 
Bobby pins on the nightstand, sink, TV stand and dresser.
And a row of boots lined against the wall. 

Because while I'm in the land of fruits and nuts, I might as well make myself at home. 

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