Back home. Two words that come up in conversation a lot these days. When I lived in Michigan, it was clear that whenever I said back home, I meant Mexico. Nowadays it could mean Grand Rapids, Michigan in general, Guadalajara or Mexico.
It’s confusing even to me. As a college student, the only thing I wanted to do is go back to Mexico. I never saw myself building a life in West Michigan. But little by little, I made my place there and it grew on me. I now consider myself a Michigander and get teary-eyed when I hear Pure Michigan ads on the radio. More than the places, I think is the people and the experiences that have created this attachment to the area. It truly does still feel like home.
This month, I have been very lucky as I was able to go back home for a visit. I actually went back to both of the areas that represent my “back home”. Going to Mexico first was a nice refresher course of my language and roots. Spending time with the family and friends that I love so much was very good for my heart, which has been struggling through the relocation process.
The kids got to visit with their cousins, showed me that they are more bilingual than what they lead me to believe when we are in the States, and tried more adventurous dishes than ever before. It was a whirlwind of events, travel and family gatherings but all time was well-invested. I returned to Pennsylvania with a wider smile.
A few days later, I was set to go to Michigan for a weekend that originally was about business but that it turned to be exactly what I needed to rid myself of the stress, guilt, feeling of not accomplishing anything that I had been dragging around for months.
It was so nice to lose myself in the comfort of the familiar hugs of the friends who have been my chosen family all these years. I felt like with them, I could just say exactly how the transition was going and the things that I miss that I haven’t accomplished, my frustrations… they got me, they hugged me, they let me cry a little and laugh a lot. I felt surrounded by warmth and cheer the whole time I was there.
Everyone I saw, was there to support me, to give me a tap on the back. One by one, they picked up the pieces of the puzzle that my heart had been broken into and they placed them carefully where they belong.
I have returned more wholesome and happier than how I left. Ready to continue to build a life here. Strengthen by the kind words, the jokes, the familiarity of my back homes.