… I landed in Atlanta, GA, from Romania and then Amsterdam. And although I have occasionally looked back, I have never, ever considered, not even for a second, to ever return to my homeland, after I realized that living here was possible.
And 17 years feels and sounds like a lifetime. Much has been lost and gained. Much has been lived, most of all.
Lived in 3 states and 6 homes. Worked for 5 companies. Switched careers more times than I can count …
Climbed The Twin Towers in NYC that are now gone forever. Climbed The Smokies and The Rockies. Ate gumbo in New Orleans and chowda in Boston. Cooked turkeys for Thanksgiving and watched baseball and fireworks for July 4. I’ve watched the sunsets in Key West and Waikiki Beach, and sunrises on Monument Valley and bison roam in Yellowstone.
I married twice. Raised kitties. Became an aunt twice. Welcomed my family into my new life. Got bruised many times, and stood up and walked again.
Got my citizenship and I cried. I cried a lot in these years!
Made friends and lost some, too. I still say my prayers in Romanian, and I write my mom every day. I am still looking forward to my adventures and I still feel like a foreigner. I feel like an intruder, to some extent, and I feel like a guest when I visit back “home”. Where is “home”? I do not know. And I do not care. Home is this planet that welcomes me, every day. No matter the latitude of my being.
I wrote a piece 5 years ago , and it still rings true.
Every year, on this day, I pause, I stop breathing under the weight of realizing this miracle that my life has been. And I pray that every one of you knows what a miracle your lives are – every second of every day, with every accomplishment or loss, which are, in fact, neither. But simple lessons and simple days passing, making a lifetime for each one of us.
These are some of the first pictures I took on American land, in Myrtle Beach, SC - my first American home. In a lot of ways, I will forever be looking across The Atlantic, for the first half of my heart to complete me.
“It’s something unpredictable/ But in the end it’s right”.