Many years ago I had my astrological chart done and I found out that I am a triple Cancer. I didn’t know much about what that meant then and I still don’t. But what I do remember was the woman telling me that being a triple Cancer meant that I was truly a homebody and that home and the comfort and safety of home were extremely important to me. That all seemed contradictory to who I was and the wanderlust that I had. It would be years before I would realize what being a homebody meant for me. I spent years in my corporate life traveling all over the world and staying in hotel after hotel. My ritual was the same then as it is now. I enter the room, look around and make it home. In my early years I always brought pictures of my children and my husband and I would put those on the nightstand or dresser immediately. Now it’s my grandchildren. Then I would hang my clothes in the closet and put things in the drawers even if I were staying for only a day or two. I made those sterile hotel rooms home. It didn’t quite matter whether I was in Hong Kong or Detroit–it was always the same. Home was wherever I was.
Some of this ritual comes from growing up in an apartment where I shared a room with my sister. The furniture was beige with two twin beds, a dresser and a nightstand and frankly it looked like a drab hotel room. For some reason, unbeknownst to my sister, or me, we were never allowed to hang anything on the walls. There was no sign that two young girls lived in that room. I think that experience caused me to always want to put my mark on wherever I was living if even for a night in a hotel room.
I have been back in Korea for about a month and the second semester has begun. This time I was welcomed and greeted by my, now, good friends in my other “hometown.” Dinner was waiting for us the first night we arrived and it was fun and comforting to know that our “family” here in Korea was waiting for our return. Other familiar things were here as well. My book club met after a summer of reading and yoga began with all the familiar faces and a few new ones. Our little apartment now has some art that we brought back with us. It feels good to see some of my old “friends” on the walls of my apartment. Life is good, and although traveling is a little harder than it was in my early years, I have learned the tricks of making those 12-hour plane rides work. I notice that even on a plane when the flight is more than a few hours I settle in as if it were my temporary “home” by having some comforts around me like a neck pillow, head phones, orthopedic socks, (thank you Cindy for the amazing gift of those socks), some comfort food, books and my sweetheart next to me.
As Korea becomes our home, at least for now, I realize our life is ordinary and extraordinary all at the same time. Last weekend we went to Seoul for a wedding of friends of ours. Ordinary, in the ritual of weddings, extraordinary in the bi-cultural nature of this wedding. The groom is from Ottawa, Canada, the bride from Korea. The entire ceremony and all the many toasts were translated so each family could participate in all the joy. The wedding was at the Ritz Carlton where it was easy to make the hotel room home.
Making home where I am, is not always easy. Everything is not at my fingertips but I have managed to find some of those things that make me feel at home while I embrace the culture and the life before me. Recently a friend said that she is having the trip of her lifetime, for this year. I love that concept, a trip of a lifetime every year. Knowing that home is where I am, has allowed me to have a different adventure of my life every year no matter where I am. Let the adventure continue!
Stay in touch and I will too.
With love and gratitude,