When America Did Not Feel Like Home

I had to make a quick trip back to The States while the rest of the family stayed here in Cape Town. The result was that I spent 40 of the past 72 hours on planes.

Solo travel was a non event when I was working. I had only myself to worry about and enjoyed the alone time. Back then, traveling with the family was what made me nervous. However, after the four of us have spent eight months on the road and taken more flights than I can count, I felt uneasy about embarking on a journey alone. Sandeep wasn’t there to look after my passport. No one was there to goof off at the Duty Free stores. There was no one to talk with on the flight. There were no laps on which to rest my head. Even worse, there we no heads to rest on my lap. I felt a dull but very obvious pain that I hadn’t experienced in a long time. An hour into my first flight I realized what it was. Loneliness.

I had mixed emotions being back in The States. It was somewhat comforting to hear the Delta air hostess’s drawl as she asked, “Would ya’ll pleease sit daawn til we switch awf the seatbelt sain?” I was happy to see George Washington’s face as I pulled out a tip. Central air-conditioning felt so good. But despite the U.S. immigration officer telling me, “Welcome home,” I knew I couldn’t wait to actually be back home in Cape Town. Upon my return, the crisp air welcomed me back with a glorious slap on the face. The lights of City Bowl looked even more beautiful than I remembered. My heart did back flips when I heard the patter of little feet running towards the front door.

After traveling to foreign countries with my family and then going back America without my family, I realized the adage “home is where the heart is” is so true. My face may be Indian, my passport American and my history confusing, but home could be a tent in the Himalayas or a sprawling condo in Penang. It doesn’t matter as long as my family is there.

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Filed under Africa, South Africa

6 Responses to When America Did Not Feel Like Home

  1. Beautiful post x I always feel like part of me is missing when my family is not with me too. Hope you are okay having to return home quickly xx hugs those little munchkins tight x

    • Diya

      Yes, all is well. I had to make a quick trip for work. It’s great to be back and I am looking forward to our next 20+ hour trip as a family from Africa to South America!

  2. jaya

    Dear Diya, a little bit of seperation is good sometimes as during this solitary journey we know the importance of our life-partner & also our own children who are our real life companions . I can fully understand your feelings since I have gone through all that in my life & no one but our own dear nears will fulfill that missing link more than anything else in this world. That reminds me of the book, “Sounds of Silence” written by Nan Umrigar which is very obsorbing and reflects your own feelings .By the way Sundeep is such a cool & most unassuming that he silently does so many things and yet plays it low key and the fact that you realised his absence shows your true love towards to him.On the whole the current trip of yours has benefitted you in many ways which will go a long way in helping to face the reality of life.

    • Diya

      Sandeep is amazing! These are all learning experiences and part of building our personalities. The absence was as good for me as it was for him and the kids. Also, it was a good way to ease ourselves back into the reality of life when we return home. Thanks for the book reference. I will check it out.

  3. Amanda martin

    This post almost made me cry! (maybe that’s a pregnancy hormone?) It seems this trip has been an amazing bonding experience for the whole family. Makes me want to do something similar once our family grows a bit more. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Diya

      That really means a lot that the post resonated with you. I hope it wasn’t just the hormones. You guys will find your ways to bond and you don’t have to physically travel to enjoy many of these freedoms. I guess the important thing is to at least recognize how fortunate we are to have freedom in the first place.

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