I got home late on Friday night after what should have been a quick couple hours of travel turned into delay after delay and I ended up spending most of the day waiting for my flight to board in the Palm Springs airport.
The past few times I've flown home from a trip, I've gotten a bit disoriented, feeling like I should really be traveling back to Charlotte, not San Francisco. I don't always know why it happens, but I usually end up sitting on the plane, picturing our South End apartment that we loved so much--the one we lived in when we first moved to Charlotte, the first place we ever brought Ender home to, and the neighborhood where we never needed a car because we could walk everywhere, including to the light rail station. It really was home.
When I landed at SFO, it was rainy and chilly and for a quick minute my Queen City homesickness subsided. I waited for my ride on the sidewalk, breathing in the cool air and feeling more and more anxious to be done with the day. I had such a great time in Palm Springs, but I was really excited to get back to Rob and Ender. They're my home, no matter where we are.
But it still hits me out of the blue--a deep daydream of Charlotte, usually in the spring. I think about morning walks to Atherton Market for coffee with Rob and Ender on Fridays, when the grass is still a little wet and the sun hasn't made its way through the clouds yet, but the buds on the trees are blooming and the air around us is perfumed and damp in the best, most subtle way.
One of my best friends had a baby last week and I was surprised by how sad I felt to not be there to visit her in the hospital, or bring her a breakfast casserole, or walk her dog, or just generally be there to share in the excitement of a brand new baby. I've made friends here, sure; but none of them have shown me their pregnancy nipples yet. (If that's not #squadgoals then I don't know what is.)
I love a lot of things about California. Yesterday we went to Rob's aunt and uncle's house for brunch and sat in their beautiful kitchen drinking mimosas as the gluten-free waffles they had made for us from scratch cooked in the waffle maker. It was a warm morning, and the little buds on the cherry blossom trees are blooming and the air around us on the way out of our house and into theirs was perfumed and damp in the best, most subtle way.
After breakfast, as we walked to our car, Rob's aunt handed me a white paper bag of avocados from her neighbor's yard. We drove home with the windows down.
My mom is visiting later this week and I'm so excited to have her here. I keep thinking I'm going to show her around, forgetting that she lived in the Bay Area for much longer than four months (she moved here from Argentina when she was eight years old and didn't leave until I was five). Is California my place to share? Minneapolis felt that way. But the Bay Area, while varied and vast and beautiful, feels like a place where I am still very much a visitor. But I think that's okay.
With every flight and every rainfall, I am learning more and more to be content exactly where I am today--wherever that may be.