My sister and I were talking this weekend about a feeling we still get after all these years that might be homesickness or something like it. It’s when we’re staying somewhere and won’t be able to leave until at least the next day and the place feels very unfamiliar or uncomfortable or just has a vibe we don’t like and we get panicked and anxious at the thought of having to get through a night or more before we can leave.
I don’t get that feeling often but I got it in Calistoga on our last night in California when I stupidly booked a bad hotel room because I didn’t want to leave the sunny bliss for what might be a foggy, cold city. This room was just all wrong and it smelled and it looked dirty and I couldn’t possibly fathom spending even one quiet hour there, much less a night. So I panicked for a bit and then Cassidy helped me realize that I’m an adult now. And I can leave. So we spent the night in our friend’s familiar and warm apartment in surprisingly sunny SF and all was better. I think I was homesick. After all these years as a grown-up.
So then I got to thinking about how sensitive I am to the general feeling and atmosphere of structures I walk into. My mother-in-law put it best once. She was house hunting with her husband and even when they found a place that looked great on paper, she’d know if it didn’t “feel” right. Her husband was easy and would probably have been happy in several places. She was more complicated. I am more complicated too. I’m amazed that I found both a town and a house that feel like home. Many places have looked good on paper to me, but they’ve given me that panicked feeling. And many places have given me a great feeling, but the thought of actually living there can give me that panicked feeling. Even as a kid, I could walk into any store or house or hotel or anything really and instantly feel either really good or really terrified. It still happens today. I’m so sensitive to the aura of a physical location. We had looked at a few places to live that had low rent, lots of space, and a great location. But mostly, I walked in those places and wanted to run right out. I instantly liked where we live. When we moved in though, it felt weird and alien to me at first and I got disoriented but I hadn’t had a real home in so long to compare it to. I guess even when it looks great on paper AND feels right, there’s still an adjustment to be made before a house feels like home. Once we decorated and got all our furniture, it started to feel heavenly. It still does. It had been so long.
I was driving home from a friend’s place tonight and my mind drifted off and I looked to my left at a row of houses and said, “Ew!” out loud. I realized I was in a town nearby that has always felt creepy to me from border to border. I don’t know why. It’s like there’s this dark cloud hanging over the town and something is off there. Throughout life I have known towns like this and I’ve always driven through them or spent time in them with an unsettled feeling. These towns can be pretty and affluent and familiar and still give me the creeps. I call them creepy towns. I wonder if there are creepy states and creepy countries. Sometimes I have nightmares that I’m starting a two week or more vacation in a foreign country and it’s dark and weird and I hate the food and I can’t drink the water and I start to panic. And it feels as terrible as it felt when I was a kid who lost her father and I needed my mom in a panicked way and I was at my grandparent’s house and I couldn’t leave for days. It’s one of the worst feelings I know. My poor kid. She will not be spending the night away from here without us for a very long time. She has to be old enough to either ask forcefully for it or to fully understand what she’s getting into. I know it will happen one day. She’ll go on a trip with a friend or she’ll stay with family because we need a much needed vacation alone. One day.
Believe it or not, I love to travel. Only I have to do it right or be in the right frame of mind or else a dream can turn fast into a nightmare. Anxiety and instability. I just really love home. Wherever that may be.
So that aside, I went to two fantastic birthday parties this weekend. Fantastic. I’d post pictures of the parties but I was having way too much fun to worry about handling both a 14-month-old and a camera. The baby always wins out. I did upload some pictures from the weekend, though.
This is the view from Cassidy’s dad’s house. It’s bliss:
And after I took those pictures I turned back to the house and to the window and saw this bliss:
So I got closer:
And then inside, I found Scarlet cuddling with Grandpa Larry:
And cute Chloe was there and relaxing with family:
And I got a real treat. Pictures of Scarlet were taken and not by me! I was too tired. Thanks to Cassidy for capturing some cute faces:
Here’s a P.S. The house across the street from us has a gigantic Halloween cat on the front lawn. Its face glows and moves from side to side. It’s fantastic:
Hope your weekends were as fantastic as mine.