In recent years, Sara and I have lived abroad—have set up house in places as far away as Haiti and Vietnam. However, in being dislocated, we’ve not so much forgotten how to live here in the US, as we’ve learned to appreciate anew what’s best about being home, and, perhaps, adopted a few domestic quirks in the process.
Indeed, for more than two years, “home” was a place my partner and I occupied only periodically and usually for excruciatingly short stays. In 2009 we didn’t even make it home for Christmas, and in 2010 Sara was back in the US for only five days during the holidays.
But being back from Haiti since last spring, we hardly know how to handle home. Being domestically dislocated for so long has left us a little off-center—left us with an eccentricity that has made us appreciate the simple, if sometimes strange, things about being back on US soil.
Like most Americans, we enjoy the simple pleasure of cuddling on the couch in our Lexington living room, but like expats, who have lived too long in developing countries, we dance delightedly at the prospect of baking in an actual oven, one with a functioning thermostat, at that. (To read about our oven challenges in Haiti, click here.) In fact, we enjoy baking so much, we sit around all too often, nibbling on cakes and cookies, widening our oh-so-homey hips and broadening our happy-to-be-house-bound bellies.
But we know that home won’t last forever, especially for us globe-trotting lesbians, traipsing the planet with two white dogs in tow. (To read about our near disasters with international, pet travel, click here.)
So, remembering that this domesticity is likely to be short-lived, Sara, this week, has photographed the things we love most about our home, accentuating sometimes our utter normalcy, at other times a bordering-on-outrageous eccentricity.
We hope you’ll walk this week with us—enjoying the photographs below—appreciating the normal and sometimes-not-so-normal indications of having been displaced and finally come home again (at least for now):
- Appreciating family—
This week I tried to “help” my nephew with a school project but realized, almost too late, that my waning grasp on US history precluded any successful tutoring on my part. Either dumbed-down by travel or having developed senility during the past few years, I had to have another nephew, who’s only 19 and knows way more than me, bring both of us back from the brink from academic disaster.
Bottom line—we may wonder where our intelligence has gone, but being home allows us to enjoy the ones we love in a whole new, if now cognitively challenged, way.
- Loving our walnut trees—
The weather has been weird this winter. Having spent two years living in the tropics, I had hoped to enjoy snow this January. Instead, on Tuesday we woke to thunder and later had another spring-like downpour. At one point, however, mid morning, the clouds cleared and blue sky emerged behind the walnut trees in our back garden.
So, being home again, we appreciate anew the simplicity of sky—the endurance of trees—bare branches against a brilliant backdrop of blue.
- Enjoying morning coffee—
Having lived in tropical climates, we’ve also learned to appreciate the simple things about more northerly locations—like hot coffee especially on cold mornings. Sara may mock my morning ritual of drinking Swiss mocha cappuccino alongside a can of Coke Zero, but there’s a lot to be said for drinking a double dose of caffeine on boring winter mornings.
- Growing our own herbs—
Since we’ve been home, Sara has spent time working in her garden, and now that winter’s here, she’s growing basil and rosemary in our attic skylight—neither of which she had a time or place for when busy responding to disasters in places like Haiti.
- Having an assortment of teas and spices—
Sara loves to cook, and I appreciate few things more than a hot cup of strong tea, so it’s a luxury for us to have both on hand—both within easy reach on a dark and dreary, Friday evening.
- Understanding why we’re so well-wired—
Living far from home, we depended so often on wired ways to reconnect with friends and families, that now we don’t know how to disengage from gadgets.
- Loving a yellow rhinoceros—
Living abroad, we learned to appreciate accessories that are not entirely home-grown.
Sara says that I’m eccentric, yet she insists a rhino grace our hallway wall. Whom, may I ask, is the truly off-center member of this partnership?
What’s the most out-of-the-ordinary accessory you have in your house? How is your home not like your neighbors? Has your domesticity been displaced?
(This post updates Sara’s Photo-a-Day Project. To see last week’s photos, click here. Images from the first week of January are in the margin to the right.)
Note: If you are new to my blog, you might like to know that I am writing a memoir and blogging about growing up in an organized crime family. (This post, however, is not part of that series.) To read one of my memoir posts,”Kids Make the Best Bookies,” click here. If you are interested in reading any of my protected posts, please email me at email@example.com or let me know in the comments below, and I will gladly share the password with you.