Go to the dogs

reddirtlattes/ March 6, 2012/ Uncategorized/ 14 comments

California is hot. Then cold. Then hot. Cold. Nothing that  happened the day before can prepare you for the next. I’ve taken to wearing my swimsuit under my parka.

I’ve been back for 2 months. I felt a tug, or more like I was thrown overboard after attaching my anchor to a speeding boat passing by on its way to refuel and somehow landed here.

Americans are nice. So nice. And they’re everywhere here in America.

I’ve often told people abroad, when faced with not-so-nice comments about my birth country, to think of Americans like puppies. We’re new, young, inexperienced. We can be awfully cute and really like to play. Okay, so sometimes we pee on your rug, but if you just scratch us behind our ears you’ll see our foot stomp as pure ecstasy crosses over our face, and really all we want to do is ride really fast with our heads out the window, panting.

I didn’t expect the refitting to be so awkward. My summers in NY were a homecoming, yet I knew they were a short stop on a u-turn back. This California detour will be a little longer and I find my head doesn’t fit out the window so easily anymore. It’s thicker with the things I’ve seen, the difference I have tasted, so instead of the ride blowing back my ears, I remain in the passenger seat watchful, even as the air feels lovely.

Being an ex-pat is hard. You live alone, isolated from comfort, but it stretches you like silly putty and you start to be able to press against anything and find its image somewhere in the shallows. The more you stretch, the softer you become, reflecting even more, perhaps something now stuck deep within.

I am happy I am back for a while. But it doesn’t feel like a full stop. It doesn’t really feel like home anymore in a weird way. Just another adventure to be had along the road.




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  1. Lovely. Eloquent. Enchanting.

  2. Glad to hear from gurl!Back on home turf,cool,hey in Cali to boot,any chance in a audition,lol ya never know you have the look of a young starlet,come on give it a shot just for fun!!!Or just enjoy the beach and catch a few waves,and some rays to boot,have fun and its sweet having you tossing in a few words hope you take a few pics soon ttfn

  3. Welcome back!! A shame you can’t stay!

  4. I remember having reverse culture shock when I came back from Spain. I couldn’t walk down to the panaderia anymore, there were no walks anywhere anymore, and the coffee wasn’t the same, and there was no jamon serrano anymore and where was my damn bidet?? Eventually, I learned to live without the bidet and with the weird, flat coffee. It is hopeful to know that this isn’t the end of the story, more chapters to come…

  5. Wonderful thought-provoking writing. Home is where the heart is for most of us. We take home with us on our journey if we’re fortunate.

  6. man can you write! what a great image of americans. you understand. it made me sad that this is no longer your home-land: i hope that means you are a comfortable citizen of the world xo

    i am new to your blog and to you and this post makes me what to know a lot more about you. it’s obvious you think and feel deeply


  7. We welcome each new adventure and your extraordinary thoughts and words, and wish you well.

  8. Look forward to reading more about your return to L.A.

    If you make it back to Rome, let me know!

  9. i missed something, your here? beautiful writing. beautiful.

  10. What a fabulous description of Americans. I hope you’re feeling more settled and that you’re sticking your head out of the proverbial window and letting the wind flap your ears about wildly! If the window feels too small, bash it with a hammer! Good grief, listen to the violence coming out of me. I’ll blame the fact that I’ve just watched the movie Drive. Love from Africa xx

  11. Love the dog imagery (especially the flapping ears!) and this blog in general — writing and photography alike. (And for what it’s worth, I’m still a “Sports Night” fan.)

    1. Thanks zoomoods. Worth a lot.

  12. I just found your blog today and read it all in an hour – what a delight! I love your analogy for USns abroad, and look forward to more of your wonderfully evocative writing.

    1. Thanks so much for reading it Stuart!

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