The last few days, I feel full with thoughts of this place and of living here. Some friends just repatriated back to the States after living here for several years, and their journey as they settle back in to the Midwest feels so near and far at the same time.
We listened to a woman speak the other night on Third Culture Kids, a phenomenon that happens to children who are raised for some, or all of their developmental years in a country that is not where they hold their citizenship. My husband is a Third Culture Kid and I can see the way it has affected him. I know it already has irreversible roots in my own children now too, roots that will only grow deeper. At one point the speaker said, for Third Culture Kids, "their childhood is a grieving childhood." You can't say that to someone like me. I'm a sad thinker. I think sad thoughts. But I understood what she meant. It's not an entirely bad thing, this grieving. It's a part of life. But it is hard.
One thing I love to do and don't get to often enough is to walk the streets of our city and photograph it. This is not an easy task, to capture the faces and lives of people here... it feels intrusive (and it is) since most of them are strangers and they don't know that I am not a tourist, or merely oggling them as if they were a zoo animal.
I can't pass a person without wondering about the life that is draped by that body, that set of clothes, that particular color handkerchief that is tied tight around a head of dark matted hair. I wonder if they have a family, and if their job is steady. Do they have a burden they are heavy with today, or every day? Do they get along with their mother, their wife? Do they have some hope that drives them?
So I've noticed that with all the loss and gain that comes from living in this land as a foreigner, but as one who is making this foreign land her home, sometimes it helps to just gaze upon the details of the place. The more I do it, the more I find that I love it, in a surprisingly tender though painfully removed kind of way.
Today I took a walk, and did just that.