July 29, 2010

Bring a Raincoat

I have hesitated to form a blog until now. Partly due to performance anxiety. Why take the time unless I have something interesting to say? (i.e. Please insert "Pearl of Wisdom" here.) And partly because it seemed a little self-absorbed. I heard somewhere that the trick to writing personal musings is to do so in a way that conveys some universal truth -- so that people might nod their heads, in their houses or offices, and mutter a little affirmation when some snippet of my life makes them think about some aspect of their own.

So which indulgent musing of my own life might ring a bell of truth for another? I am currently immersed in an ongoing experiment to define home. Ask someone where home is and you might get a quick answer. Ask why that place is home and chances are you'll be met with a pause. Home is an abstract and elusive concept and, in today's world of movement, it is being redefined. Yet home still resides at the core of the human experience.

My life currently takes me between two places: Alaska and New Zealand. I am testing modern travel and technology's ability to facilitate calling both of them "home" simultaneously. I moved to Alaska 9 years ago and it has become home in the way that a place does when it simply feels good. Alaska fits me like my favorite pair of pants. Now, throw Aotearoa New Zealand into the mix. This country of cups-of-tea, wild mountains, "can-do" friendly people, and yes, sheep, is my husband's home.

We have gone back and forth for the last 7 years. We have packing down to an art (which does not eliminate the stress of it), we know which airline gives you free earplugs and wine, we watch the exchange rate like some people follow sports and we adjust our accents and verbiage depending on the time zone we are in.

In less than a month, we depart Alaska for NZ and will stay there for at least 3 or 4 years, my longest stint yet. I'm joining the ranks of those who include the word "immigrant" in their sense of themselves or at least in how others perceive of them. I've been on this road for a while now and am beginning to realize that I just have to relinquish control and consider this journey as it unfolds. My two places both boast a lot of rainfall and this simple rule might be the only one that applies: Bring a raincoat.