Ten days felt incredibly full and incredibly short.
Ten days of seeing the people I love and being loved. Ten days of hugs, laughs, good food and too much wine. Of girl talk and late nights. Of wearing more clothes than I’ve worn in months, borrowing boots and scarves for the blizzard. Of riding the subway three times a day, and not really minding.
And the change.
So many changes since I’d last been in New York, seven months ago. And I got to hear about and celebrate them. Hold babies and visit homes and sing birthday karaoke. Hold space for fresh losses and new journeys. Smell the delicious pine of my sister’s Christmas tree in its last days. Relish the quiet stillness of Central Park blanketed in falling snow.
The familiarity of the city was more comforting than I expected. Flying into LaGuardia, I smiled as the plane circled over the twinkling night landscape of lights. Visiting the neighborhoods I used to frequent, I was happy to find that some old haunts still remained, and folks put me on to new spots that were a treat. The laid-back Belizean pace I’ve embraced slipped seamlessly into my New York stride.
New York is still in my bones.
And as wonderful as my return was, it also meant saying goodbye again. It meant leaving, again.
A departure, an arrival, a return.
It has me thinking about what it means to leave a place that is still home, create home in a new place, and return to the old place when so much has changed. What it means to leave a place where I belong and seek that belonging somewhere else. And how it feels to belong to more than one place, moving between the two, navigating a shifting space that used to be constant. It is bittersweet.
Leaving New York felt different this time. Sad, because it will be a long while until I see these people again who mean so much to me. It means I will miss babies’ first steps, birthdays and ladies’ nights. It made me aware of how wide the gap can become and how important it is to stay connected. It made me aware of time and how short life really is, how quickly it soldiers on for all of us, wherever we are.
It also felt hopeful. It made me grateful for all the love and support I have in my life that are always available to me. It made me appreciate the life I have here and look forward to expanding that. And as my flight landed in Belize and I walked out into the heat and sunshine, and passed lush green hills and palm trees as I headed back to San Ignacio, I thought “Yes. I am home.”