Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emerson’s Essays
The kids ripped open Easter cards from their aunt and $20 flew out. They were mesmerized and held them up to the light while staring in disbelief. My six-year-old broke the silence when she piped up asking, “This is money right, and how many euros are in this green paper?”
It dawned on me that we have been away for a while.
When we left the USA, it never crossed our mind that it would feel strange returning someday. All week, as we have discussed different anxieties about our upcoming adventures, it became clear that staying in Europe now feels like a safe choice.
We understand how things work in Europe. We think in euros and we put the month before the date when filling out forms. We measure in kilometers and milliliters and we dream in other languages. We know that stores are closed between 1-3 pm and that lunch is important. We expect to be misunderstood and to misunderstand, and we laugh at ourselves daily. We think fresh-baked pastries for breakfast every day are perfectly healthy. We are used to the silence that comes with anonymity, and we are OK only having access to food that is in season. We know that lanes on the autostrada are just guidelines and that everyone moves at their own pace.
We are home and yet we are leaving for home.
What we know now that we didn’t know when we left is home is possible anywhere as long as we believe in our ability to truly land somewhere. As our definition of home expands so does our belief that perhaps it is not a place but a space we create within us where there is exponentially room for more at the table.