January 20, 2014

Chez soi.

Winter break was the second time I visited my parents in their new home. The first time I was accompanied by the boy and had so much to show him that nothing felt different, really. Yes, the house was new, but enough of the old pieces of furniture were there (including, as my dad said, “these old pieces of furniture” while referring to himself and my mom) that it still felt like home.

This trip was different. While only a thirty-minute drive away from my old house and my old neighborhood, it was far enough away. I didn’t visit the beach I grew up with. I only got to eat at a handful of my favorite places.

Some of this was due to the fact that my evil brother got me sick and ten days is already too short, but even still it felt more like visiting a new place than coming back to one I knew so well.

I didn’t feel the need to drive down to Beach Cities Pizza and taste the most-delicious-breadsticks-and-ranch-dressing-of-my-life first thing upon arrival, as has been the practice.

There was less urgency in the visit, maybe because I know I’ll come back again some day even if I don't know when. I was more interested in spending time with my family than hitting my old haunts (although I refused to leave California without having gone to the beach at least once).

Obligatory California Ocean sunset picture. The pacific ocean always feels like home.

Part of me can’t help wondering how much of that is due to the fact that France becomes more my home all the time. After summer vacation, I took more things with me to France than I brought back to California. I took things that I’d never taken before, thinking I’d be moving back "home" soon enough.

I still don’t think I’ll live in France for the rest of my life, but it doesn’t feel so temporary anymore. It would seem that France has become more than just my country of residence, even if I need my own personal stash of Cholula to stay sane here.

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