I suppose because I can't say y'all without a grimmace on my face, I get asked multiple times a day/week/hour where I am from. Back in the day, my response was Minnesota. For a while I said DC, because I had spent the last seven years there building a career, a family and a life. Then, folks started to wonder what the heck I was doing in Nashville because why would someone from DC or Minnesota find themselves in Tennessee, bless her heart?
Now, I feel compelled to just say I'm a gypsy and leave it at that. It feels like I'm not from anywhere. Grandma is still up North. My closest friends are not only on opposing coasts, but also other continents. My parents live in Nashville now, but this isn't where I grew up. It's just as confusing for strangers as it is confusing to me.
When I was visiting Washington just three months ago, when my plane landed, I felt overcome by melancholy. As the plane descended, I could see my old church, my old neighborhood, my favorite park. This was my home, but I wasn't coming back, I was merely visiting. It hurt.
When I recently negotiated a trip back, I assumed the same homesickness would hit on the tarmack. It didn't. I was busy with work, networking with talented people, and walking the streets of a part of town that wasn't "mine." I showed my new colleagues my favorite haunts with a bit of nostalgia, but the bartender didn't serve my favorite cocktail anymore. I squeezed in a quick visit with my old boss, but his office had moved. Places are changing and lives are moving on. As the bumps of our move continue to reverberate, at least I know that I don't have that same hole in my heart. Because it will always be there, just a new place of a new time.
And then, I'm reminded what a wonderful, beautiful city it is. I happened to be in a meeting two blocks from the Mall as the space shuttle took its last few laps over the nation's capitol. I got to be there for that brief moment, in the right place at the right time. Just like it was meant to be.