It is a strange feeling, to find yourself in a setting so similar to the one in which you grew up, and have it be distinctly incomparable to the vast meadows and familiar faces of home.
The people look the same, mostly. They have the same teeth, the same noses, the same cavernous eyes. Their limbs are long, their curves round. Their skin tears in the same mortal way that mine does. Their wounds bleed. Their hearts ache.
The air is fresh. The trees are green. The sky is infinite and the birds free. The sun shining on my face in the mornings is the same sun that it has always been, and the moon calling to me in the dark of the night is the same one that used to whisper to me of longing and adventure.
Much of my existence here is the same. I work, I play, I make friends. I laugh, I sing, and I dance. I am the same girl that I have always been –the one who loves getting lost in a beat and feeling the rain on her skin and the wind in her hair.
It’s this place that is different. It’s the cars that wind down the highway on the wrong side, turning right despite the red. It’s the squirrels that chase each other in circles around tree trunks. It’s entire neighbourhoods where one house is directly identical to the next. It’s the customs officer who forgot that he, too, is only human, despite having my fate in his hands. It’s dressing in shorts and tees while locals pull on their winter boots. It’s cops with guns, and gated communities, and free alcohol at parties, and sockets without switches, and crosswalks without sound.
It’s a lot of things, really.
Mostly, I think that it is the promise of a dream that doesn’t exist.
Sometimes I wonder, would I take it all back?
For the serenity of my own room, would I give up living with one of my closest friends? For the love of my family, would I forget about the new relationships that I have created? For the comfort of my own country, would I forfeit the adventures that this one has to offer? Would I abandon the palm trees, the egrets, and the lakes, for the mountains and the oceans of home?
I look down at my dirty white shoes, and for a moment, I imagine Dorothy’s sparkling red ones. If I click my heels together, would they take me home? Would I return back to the land of sheep and hobbits?
My toes twitch momentarily, daring me to close my eyes and whisper the words that will send me back from whence I came. But then I smile. And I shake my head. And I kick off my shoes, hurl them across the room, lie back on my bed, and sigh.
Home is where the heart is, and my heart is right here, beating out a steady rhythm right beneath my rib cage.
THIS is my home now. This is it.
And Dorothy is right, of course.
There is no place like home.