I held back tears. The farther and farther away I walked from TSA the more I felt my heart clench. I didn’t want to leave. I wasn’t ready to leave. It’s gotten harder and harder each time I have to say goodbye. There’s something about the family and the friends and the familiarity of San Francisco that breaks my heart when it comes time to leave. It didn’t used to be this way. I used to love leaving. I used to jump at the first chance of getting away. But now it’s different. Now it’s more painful.
As the plane dipped down below the clouds there it was in the distance. I was recording a video on my phone of the clouds floating by, and for a brief second, I saw it. It was the mountain range off in the distance. The beautiful ridges that always seem to take my breath away. I was giddy and couldn’t wait to get off the plane and be back home in Hawaii. There is something about arriving at the Honolulu airport that always leaves me with a sense of peace. It’s the feeling of finally getting to be back home.
My heart is so deeply tethered to two places that could not be more different. One being the place where I was born with the family that have known me my whole life. The other being the place where I chose to live with the friends who have become my family. Both places are home, but they’re different homes.
The Bay Area is the place where I can just be. There’s no ‘work Meg’ or ‘adult Meg’. There’s just the Meg that was small way back when and now I’m bigger. I don’t have to pretend to be anyone because everyone knew me before I was someone. My cousins knew me when I would wear my hair in three pig tails and tip toe around the house. My aunts and uncles know me as the one who can’t cook, is quite loud, and can sleep through any amount of noise. I don’t have to be anyone for them, because even if I tried they would know that’s not me.
Then there’s Hawaii. Hawaii is the place I’ve become. An adult with bills and responsibilities and a full-time job. I have a car payment and a retirement plan. I’ve achieved so much and have created a life for myself from scratch. It’s a life I love and enjoy. It’s a life where I call the shots because it’s mine and no one else has the power to influence it here. Hawaii is the life I could have never imagined on my own but now couldn’t imagine any other way.
So, there’s these two homes that mean completely different things to me but pull me just as equally. On one side I have friends who tell me not to leave and on the other I have friends who wait for me to come back. And if I could financially provide for myself to live half the year in one place and half the year in the other I would do it in a heartbeat, but being a teacher sort of requires me to be in one place for the school year.
I am fortunate to get to go back home so frequently- California or Hawaii. It’s a luxury I should never take for granted. But I am even more fortunate to have people who love me enough- in two different places in the world- that they don’t want to see me go. To those people, to my family- blood related or not, I’ll be home soon.