Friday, December 12, 2008
Return to NYC = Twilight Zone
Last week I had a whirlwind business trip to New York for three days. It was absolutely surreal. After a full day of meetings in Amsterdam on Tuesday, I boarded my first British Airways flight to JFK on Wednesday morning. 8+ hours later, I was in New York and in a car stuck in traffic on Park Avenue as tourists choked the sidewalks getting ready for the lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. How truly bizarre!
The rest of the week was a whirlwind: dinner with Laura, Jon, and Jeff; reunion with former co-workers; lunch at EAST with Mom and Dad; Belmont Lounge with Dave, Fern (!!!), Rietje, Sam, and Allison; meetings; drinks at the Modern; home. Phew.
Being in New York was really nice, actually: I haven't been away long enough for it to be completely alien. Things still have changed, though - what is this $7.00 for 8 rides Metrocard option? What is going on with the calories on menus? At the same time, though, even as I walked familiar avenues and visited old haunts, it's clear that New York isn't my city anymore. It always will be - I'll always have New York - but London is quickly becoming home. By Friday, I wanted to be in MY bed, in MY apartment, in MY neighborhood. And that was disconcerting unto itself.
Plus, visiting my old office in New York made me really notice the difference between that office and London's office of the same company. I belong to both, and feel at home in both, but can only work for one. While washing dishes the other day it occurred to me that this sentiment is the reality of an expat - feeling at home everywhere, but not having one place to call home. As once moves around the world, one assimilates to each place, picks up a bit and leaves a bit behind.
So what is home? I've been thinking lately that home is where you choose to be - whether it be where you are at the moment, or the place you eventually end up. So far, I'm happy where I've landed, but I really don't think this is it... and I'm excited by that prospect of what lies around the next turn.