Saturday, April 16
I’m about 30 minutes away from Austin and I’m nervous. I
haven’t been in Austin-Bergstrom for a while. It even had begun to feel like
another airport, Mariscal Sucre in Quito, had become “my airport” – when I went
to pick up Emma there with my friends, or saying goodbye to my family on the
plane in Guayaquil to continue to Quito and go “home”. And now I’ll be back in
the home base, the place that’s been my return point and my final destination
for the past 19 years, and I feel nervous. I don’t know what I’ll feel when I
see the familiar interior: the giant guitars, the stage at Austin Java, the
weird hair stickers on the bathroom mirrors.
Crossing that pick-up lane into the parking garage has
always signified to me that I made it, that I am home. I’ll be back in the
United States, in Texas, in Wimberley. I know it’s going to be weird, it
already has been surreal, especially sitting in the Las Vegas airport hearing
and seeing all the stereotypes that I’ve been away from for so long. I don’t
want to be melodramatic. I’m not an outsider here. I was away for 7 months and
it changed me and I am coming back slightly different, and accustomed to a
distinct culture and set of circumstances, but that 7 month “experience” doesn’t
trump the other 18 years I have spent in this set of circumstances, living in
this country and culture, arriving to this airport.
But I’m still nervous. About stepping off of the plane,
stepping onto the escalator down, stepping through the sliding glass doors to
the pick-up lane that signifies home. I’m nervous about what I’m bringing with
me, changes and things learned and relationships made, and if I’ll be able to
hold on to all of it. I’m nervous about being in the same situations I’ve
always been in and how I’ll react to them. Will I be better? I’m nervous about
defining myself, defining my “experience” to everyone who casually asks how it
was or what I did, about defining my values, about defining who is my family
and where is my home.
I’m about 15 minutes from Austin and I’m nervous.