There were many times in the last few weeks of my trip that I saw myself kissing the ground when I landed in Alaska. I just wanted to see home again. It was not that I was particularly homesick, as much as I was heresick, just too much Italy, too many Italians. But, when I arrived in the airport all I did was kiss the grandbaby and the kids who met me there, followed by kissing the kids and grandteenagers who met me in the CARRS parking lot in Wasilla, at practically the midnight hour. A five-year old holding a sign that says, “Welcome Home Nonna” pretty much obliterates any other thoughts and emotions.
After a journey with enough legs to build an octopus, I am finally here, but in a daze. Everything looks familiar, just like home, just like I left it….10 minutes ago, like I had never left. A strange sensation. How could such an intense, long, emotionally thrilling and difficult trip simply disappear from my mind? After much kissing and hugging and talking I was finally handed off to Lizzy who was taking me on the last leg home. It is summer in full bloom here and it is usually the absolutely best time of the year, surrounded by everything green and lots of it, but it evoked a very different feeling in me, like I was being crowded and a little overwhelmed by all that green. Too many trees, too fluffy with leaves and looming over me. After so long in new and ancient cities on both sides of the Atlantic with their concrete, cobblestone, asphalt and over head wires I had somehow forgotten what it was like to be surrounded by the wild and for the very first time that I can ever remember in my life, it felt like too much. As we descended onto the flats where you can see the valley open out in front of you and know that you are almost home I heard a question in my head to which I had no answer. Am I coming home or coming for a visit?
Once we made the Wasilla or Palmer decision at the fork in the road the travelogue began. Lizzy pointed out the new developments along the Parks Highway, Red Robin opened, Mocha Moose moved and expanded, the old movie theater closed, the new one opened, but you can’t see it from the road and yes, it has several screens, but no, it is not part of Century 16 theaters and she doesn’t know how much it cost because grandpa bought the tickets but the food is REALLY expensive. CARRS got a whole new facelift and the inside is all fancy too. It is supposed to look just like the new CARRS in Palmer. After the meet up in the parking lot where hugs and kisses were exchanged with the rest of the family we headed to home, my home, finally, where I anticipated a big, excited, tail-wagging, circle-spinning welcome from good ol’ Cindy. I was mildly disappointed when the reception was not only toned way down, but unequally divided between Lizzy, her Mom for the last seven months, and me – in Lizzy’s favor. It was actually three days before she forgave my absence and came over in the morning to wake me up and get her butt scratched.
It took nearly ten days to complete the Transporter process but I am now completely beamed into place. While passing through dematerialization and rematerialization a few of my molecules were slightly reconfigured. It would not qualify for an actual Transporter accident, but I definitely arrived different then when I departed. Mostly, it was psycho-social realignment whose presence I have noticed over the last few weeks; things like believing that no one has the right to be mean to me, that I am good at what I do in the kitchen not just in the bakery, that isolation isn’t serving me the way it did in the past, and that I really would like, and am ready to actually have, a relationship with a man. (schoooo, that was hard to say out loud)
OK, I’m back now. I had to go outside with a shovel and a pitchfork and dig up weeds wholesale to process the anxiety that making THAT ♂ statement brought up.
I noticed that I really don’t want to eat the food that is mostly and easily available here, that I like the way I feel when I cook for myself, and that I don’t drink enough water. I learned, truly experienced, that I can have what I want in life and it is OK to want it and have it. Also, TV and radio are overrated and even the news is just mostly blathering and incredibly repetitive. I get the highlights from my friends’ Facebook posts, like Osama Bin Laden is dead, there was an earthquake (followed immediately by its magnitude), and when the President makes a speech, but frankly, I am going to minimize my news search to the horizon and when I see a mushroom cloud, I’ll know it is time to duck and cover. I think I became indoctrinated to the belief that I had to watch the news to be up-to-date on what was happening, and to be considered one of the intellectual elite, or fully informed. I learned, however, that you can be better informed about the middle east crisis if you read Arab newspapers, historical works, or talk to people from Israel and Palestine and that being “fully informed” via the media doesn’t come without bias so by its very nature isn’t truly informational.
I have looked at the evidence of my previous life and know it is time for a few changes, like a second, more acute decluttering, noticing the non-existent furniture that needs to exist in my house, the old stinky carpet that really needs to go, NOW, and that there is so much iron in my water that if I drink a glass of it without wearing rubber boots, I can get an electric shock. I’m sure there is more, and I’ll happily report on it, along with catching you up on the things that happened during the Blog blackout of May and June, but right now I have to go cook for myself.
Ciao for now,