I'm struggling to function without coffee. It's very early in the morning and Peanut just gave me a wake-up call before deciding she really, truly wanted to go back to sleep instead. Yes the nap transition continues....
Anyway, my fuzzy brain remembers that I wanted to mention "home". A couple of weeks ago, as North Korea was preparing to launch their "test rocket" (coincidentally in the general direction of Japan) I blogged about wanting to go home. At the time I really just meant the U.S. in general - anywhere there would have worked.
But the more I thought about it, the more I wondered when one's idea of "home" changes. In Japan for example, the verb "kaeru" is often used to mean "to return to one's home or country of origin". I've heard people specifically say that while it's accurate and appropriate for me to say that when I go back to the U.S. I "kaerimasu" (returning), it's not as fitting for my husband who is Japanese and that for him the appropriate verb would really be "iku" or to go. Now remember, Gboy has lived in the U.S. since he was 16 years old and more specifically, we've lived in Seattle for 8 years. Needless to say, he would argue that this limitation in word use is ridiculous because he thinks of going to Seattle as a return home.
For me, I definitely see our house in Seattle as a home. I miss so much about it. I miss the amazing libraries nearby. I miss the multiple parks within walking distance. I miss sidewalks where I can take Peanut for walks without having to cling to the edge of a country road without falling into a ditch while a surprising amount of traffic goes by. I miss the coffee shops -- dozens and dozens of amazing espresso machine owning, foam making, coffee loving coffee shops. I miss all of the green trees. And none of this covers my personal treasures - my bed, all of the handy tools that are part of my kitchen equipment, my BOOKS...
But in pondering the idea of home further, I realize that I also miss upstate N.Y. where I was raised. I could list dozens of restaurants, shops, festivals, and various local points of interest that I miss. In part, I do think I miss them because they're worth missing (i.e. they make an amazing pastrami on rye sandwich the likes of which I've never even heard of in Seattle), but the other part of that is pure nostalgia. I miss the old Friendly's restaurant where my girlfriends and I used to hang out after any school function held in the evening. I don't miss the place because the ice cream was especially good, but I miss it because some of my oldest friendships were created and solidified in that restaurant.
Throw all of this in a mixer and what do you get? I'm not sure. Perhaps what I'm thinking is that even though I don't think of Japan as "home" right now, maybe if we had a bit more space of our own I would. Or maybe, it's just a matter of waiting it out. When I first moved to Seattle I know I didn't think of it as home for close to a year and we have only been here in Japan for 7 months. Maybe with time things will change.
And maybe the answer is something as simple as muffin tins. If I could find one good sized muffin tin would my whole life here be complete??
Updated to add: Are there special places that you miss? That restaurant that makes homemade cannoli? (Wait that's me!) Or events that you long for? The firefighter's pancake breakfast in the town where you grew up? The 4th of July parade at your favorite summer vacation spot?