|The People’s Committee Building, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, during Tet holiday|
It’s official: It’s been too long since I’ve traveled.
I do realize that I flew to Boise a little over a week ago, but that doesn’t really count, now does it? I’m talking real travel. The what-is-this-stuff-I’m-eating, talking-with-hand-guestures, everything-is-totally-new-and-different sort of travel.
For all the whining I do about wanting to be back in Boise, I really do miss being abroad. I miss the strangeness of it, the empowerment I feel when accomplishing little things (like taking a taxi by myself for the first time in a new country), the ever-present “otherness” that permeates everything I do. I miss sitting at a table in Phu My Hung, Ho Chi Minh City, eating yellow noodles, and looking around and realizing how wonderful and full life is. I miss Sunday mornings: leaving late to get to church at the Notre Dame Cathedral, a lunch of eggs, rice, and baguettes afterwards, ordering coffee at Western coffeeshops. I even miss Ben Thanh: its stinky fish smell, the hands grabbing at my elbows, the particularly good bootleg DVD stands, the smiles that quickly fade when you decide not to buy.
I even miss the Dominican Republic sometimes: my students, who became like siblings to me; twice monthly trips to amazing beaches; egg sandwiches (sin mayonesa), fresh mango smoothies (sin azúcar), and tostones at that little restaurant in the Zona Colonial; trying not to fall asleep during mass, with the echoey, Spanish words lulling me in the hot, old buildings; cobblestone streets that elicited that feeling of real traveling.
But what does this mean, exactly? Will this nostalgia lead to more travels, new locales, another home abroad?
For now, we are in Ohio. But in two years, who knows? And even if we don’t move back abroad, I plan to explore every inch of this world of ours.