April 20, 2009

finding home, wherever you are

This post is a guest post written by Allison Fawkes who just finished her internship at Tea.

I’ve moved around a lot for my age, having already experienced the ancient pyramids of Egypt, walked through the fields of tulips in Holland, and enjoyed gelato while walking along the canals of Venice, all by the age of 13.  I am a seasoned traveler by any definition, and can remove and replace belts, shoes, and accessories like a pro at the airport security line.
The only thing I have ever really known is change, and yet I find myself constantly amazed and envious of other’s bravery in going great lengths to change their lives.  I was having dinner at one of my favorite neighborhood Italian restaurants the other night.  It’s an intimate setting where everyone working there speaks Italian and people have to hold their breath to walk through the tables.  There’s even an Italian man in a very tailored shirt who would pace around and every once in a while pour champagne for couples waiting for their tables.  Our waitress was from Milan, and politely laughed when we butchered the names of dishes we were ordering.  She assured us that it was ok, and that she was in just as much need of practicing her English as we were of our Italian.
Our meal that night made me think about my own travels and all of the places that I’ve lived.  At the young age of 22, I can already count Sacramento, San Diego, Puerto Rico, Spain, Colorado, England, and San Francisco as home.  I have always had my parents with me during those big moves outside of the U.S., and even for my transition from college in the Midwest to San Francisco.  I did a summer internship in London, but even then I was among other students living abroad. Just as is the case in London, San Francisco is full of foreign accents and neighborhoods filled with people who share similar cultures.  I found comfort in having other American college students in London who I could share experiences with, and I must think that our waitress must find the same comfort in the people that she works with, and the network of people that she can build from that.
After I have fully exhausted all of the tangents that my mind takes me on during this conversation I am having with myself, I realize that I am more similar to our waitress from Milan than our accents might reveal.  Even though I have lived abroad and done things I probably never could have imagined for my age, I have always managed to find some form of familiarity in everything that I do.  America has been known for being the “melting pot” of cultures and people, and our founding fathers came here with the idea that they would create familiarity in a strange land.  As our world’s countries and economies become more interconnected, it has become more reality than possibility that other countries will take on those same melting pot characteristics, and our lives will take us outside of our ideas of what is normal.  Whether you find people who speak your language, carry the same religious practices, or enjoy the same hobbies, it is possible to find commonalities wherever you are.
Like the old adage says, “Home is where you make it”.

Comments

  1. Lori says:

    Wow, I can’t help but draw a parallel between my 5 year old and you. Many of the same places visited and lived. I often wonder if she will remember the places and people and moreover appreciate the experiences or will it just be her “normal” and no big deal. You put a smile of comfort on my face as I can it does make an imprint on you.

  2. Allison says:

    Lori-

    I am so excited to hear that your family has had the ability to travel and show your child so much at such a young age. My experiences have definitely left a great impact on me, of which I am realizing more and more each day. To be perfectly honest, moving around a lot was hard on me as a kid, trying to adapt to foreign cultures and always felt like I was in a state of transition. BUT, we are nothing without our experiences, so despite those hard times, I have learned to be a very independent person and have also come to appreciate those differences in culture.

    I can tell you that your little citizen will absolutely remember the experiences you are giving her, and I hope that she finds a sense of normality- the world is truly her playground!