Where my parents live now is not where I grew up, so when they picked me up at the airport and drove me to their house, it was surreal. My childhood furniture is in a room that isn’t my childhood bedroom, and I am too long for the bed now (which is a shock all around). The clothes in the closet are from my teenage days, the photographs on the wall not more recent than five years ago. I found myself tiptoeing, waiting for my 14 year old self to come in and demand to know why I was going through the drawers.
But my parents always feel like coming home, even when it’s been a year since I’ve seen them and I’ve never lived in Georgia.
It was a strange ten days, to say the least. I met people who follow my adventures via my blog, and while they knew a lot about me, I didn’t know anything about them. But they welcomed me into their lives like an old friend, inviting me for food and coffee and to share in their churches and to come round for talks in their living rooms. Their generosity was overwhelming. I’d forgotten how full of love Southerners are.
My parents, who are not Southern, have become so in the years since I’ve not lived with them. I loved hearing them use the colloquialisms and watching them fit right in. It reminded me of the same journey that I’ve been on these past five years.
Some days I miss my family and the country of my birth deeply. I miss talking and not being looked at (although apparently that is a thing of the past, no matter where I am), of knowing the cultural references without trying, of riding in the car with my Dad and listening to the rock and country standards, of drinking large cups of coffee with my mother. But those things don’t change with time. When I find my way back, I fit in again seamlessly.
I have always been fascinated with the concept of home, but never more than whilst living this strange phenomenon of having a home so far from my birth home and scattered across lands and people. I got to visit a piece of home this holiday season, and now that I am back in another home, I can look back and let the rose colour settle in.
These are all from my iPhone, but they are the memories that I have, because I was too busy enjoying to get out my proper camera very often.
Welcome into the Southern days.
My parents’ friends live on the Bluff in Savannah.
My dad has learnt to “double tap” to get a useful photograph.
With my parents on Tybee Island, GA.
Tybee Island, GA
St. Augustine, FL
St Augustine, Florida
With my brother in St. Augustine, FL
A swampy morning in Savannah, GA
the streets of Savannah on a Sunday morning
At the beach with my father
with my childhood friend in Greenville, South Carolina
My grandmother’s house
Grandpa playing the dulcimer on the front porch of his house.
My grandparents and the church they went to whilst I grew up, Columbus, North Carolina
A swampy forest in Savannah
My parents rode their bikes in the forest whilst I ran after them so that I could get some training in.
Front Porch Coffee Shop, Savannah
With my childhood friend in our favourite place
Tybee Island, 23 December
One parent is warm, one parent is freezing
My parents’ back garden.
Savannah swamp (with no filter needed)