I’m in Ithaca. For just one day. I drove down from my aunt’s house early this morning, but not nearly early enough – got a little lost downtown (it’s been three years since I’ve been here!) and was ten minutes late to my first meeting – I also didn’t think to grab an umbrella and got soaking wet. It’s good to be here. In a lot of ways I wish this was still my life… hunkering down in the warmly-lit library to work through horrible weather, meeting friends for lunch, surrounded by brainy people doing interesting intellectual work. It’s easy to feel that way right now, I think, with the adrenaline rush still singing in my veins from running to my meeting through the rain.
My kids, my husband, and my parents are all at my aunt’s farmette today, hopefully having a ton of fun. We’re spending the weekend with friends and family in the area, driving back to VA Monday. Then ten days until we move to Colombia.
It’s all good.
Do you know the Dar Williams song, Southern California Wants to Be Western New York? It’s so perfect:
…and there’s another part of the country with a land that gently creaks and thuds
where the heavy snows make faucets leak in bathrooms with free standing tubs
and there are houses that are haunted with the kids who lie awake and think
about other generations past who used to use that dripping sink
Sometimes Southern California wants to be Western New York
Wants to have a family business in sheet metal or power tools
And it wants to have a diner where the coffee tastes like diesel fuel
Wants to have a snow day that will turn the parents into kids
And it wants to know the glory of a town they say has hit the skids
And it’s embarrassed but it’s lusting after a SUNY student with mousy brown hair
Who is taking out the compost, making coffee in long underwear
But I hear they’ve got a theme park planned to make you gasp and say
I bet that crumbling mill town was a booming mill town in its day
And they’ll have puttering on rainy weekends, autumn days that make you feel sad
And a-hundred-year-old plumbing and the family you never had
There’s something about the trees here, the forest and farm smells, the down-at-the-heels rural rust belt feel that feels like home. My dad’s family is from these parts for generations back – one of our ancestors came on the Mayflower. My grandfather’s potato farm was our home in the US when I was growing up. My uncle and cousin still farm it. Part of why I came here for grad school was feeling connected to this place, to the people, the land.
I’m hoping that my in-laws’ home in Virginia will be like that for my kids. Oz was born there, and it’s becoming a place to return to. It’s a wierd thing, being a “third-culture” kid – you end up feeling profoundly connected to disparate places, while never entirely being “from” there.
So. Ten days until Colombia. Am I crazy for feeling good about going?