Home is a relative term. As I’ve traveled over the years, my sense of home is more or less where I need to get back to with the current set of bags I’m temporarily living out of. This means that though I’ve been in the states for the last several weeks, it feels like I’m headed home in going back to Afghanistan.
Though I’m headed back to my own bed (I still have three more nights to get there!), I still can never help but get nostalgic on my way to PDX, Portland Airport. There is something about that journey past evergreens that does it to me. The MAX (one of Portland’s mass transit options) is particularly helpful to conjure this feeling, as there is more time to reflect in the process and be reminded of why I want to live in a working city.
I currently find myself at Logan International Airport in Boston. I managed to find the only room around with a good seat. It happens to be in the kiddie play area with this bizarre metal sculpture that has balls dropping through it and making all sorts of weird chiming noises on its way down through the track. In addition to the cacophony of sound it makes, I also have Air Supply to remind me of driving back from summer camp at Lake Suttle in Central Oregon at age eleven. Just me at the silver plane that my nephew Kieran would go crazy for. The good news is that it is certainly more peaceful here than it would be at any other time in the day!
So my recent travels have taken me to Boston, DC, and Oregon. It’s been a great trip overall. I’d say that the only downer is that the weather has made me long for that of Kabul. It will certainly remind me to appreciate the bits that I love so much about living in Kabul.
Boston was good. The conference that I attended had 700 professionals working in study abroad. Just being surrounded by that many people working in my field was such an affirmation of the validity of the field. Sometimes I wonder about the continued job opportunities and so forth, but the conference reminded me that there are plenty of jobs working in what I love.
DC was nice to visit. I’d have to say that even with five free days in the city I managed to step right back into the ways of the city and had a long laundry list of all I had to accomplish during my stay. That of course reminded me of both good and bad of living in a place like DC, where an empty to-do list is just unheard of, even on vacation.
Oregon was all about family. James and I are lucky to have our family close together where we are able to connect with lots of people on our all-to-short of visits. I especially loved getting to spend time with my two-year-old nephew Kieran who is such a sweetheart. He has become a little boy over night and loves his auntie Miel, even if he’s not certain if she’s mom or not!
As I head back to Kabul, general thoughts of work start to creep in. I try to fight them off but they reemerge. I’m only back for two weeks before I leave to Vietnam for a month on a program – so needless to say – I’ll be quite busy. I actually kept up with my email up until a week ago, but that week offline feels endless.
I’m also reminded of my challenge to myself to begin to take my blog experience to the next level. Not necessarily with endless rambling posts from airports in the dead of the night, but rather by getting further into my experiences as I travel. I realize after reflecting more on my experiences in Kabul from a distance that I’ve kept my blog very much on the surface level. Very much sanitized for the general consumption. Not discussing the difficult issues or telling it how it is. I realize that these are the bits that are really most import. Thus, I’ll be working on getting further into reflective mode when I can get the chance to do so.