I’m beautiful and smart and I’m going to make it through everything that is happening. I’m going to be okay.
Basically, everything has fallen apart and I’m trying not to be a train wreck but don’t think I’m doing very well and really wish that this year would get off to a better start? How am I supposed to breathe when it feels like I’ve lost an arm?
Being back in Berlin is both emotional and strange.
My parents moved us from a farm house in the country to a suburban colonial about 40 minutes closer to Boston the summer before I began second grade, and even though that was the only real extreme change that I experienced as a kid, I still never quite felt like I fit into the town where I spent the bulk of my childhood. In high school, I left for boarding school in Greater Boston but returned home after a perfect storm struck my life.
I don’t think anyone was surprised when I declared my intent to move to New York for college, nor was my ultimate decision to abandon my collegiate goals for a year and move to Berlin on a gap year unexpected. The five years that followed, though, and my ultimate return to the American shores wasn’t part of the script.
Thanks to dozen of trips across the Atlantic, and hours of flights between the places I grew to care about, I immediately feel like I’m home arriving at a handful of airports. The bedroom community outside of Boston where I grew up is sandwiched between three airports: Logan was the first airport I ever went to, and was beacon that welcomed me back into the US time and time again after Delta 231. Cruising down the New England coast and coming in low over the water has always signaled that I’m going to somewhere that people care about me. The same feeling erupts as I land in Portland, even though it’s a tiny airport and I fly to and from it much less. Try as I might to reject New England and Maine and lobster and tote bags, struggle as I do to feel at home in my parents’ house, it’s a safe place.
Landing at Tegel was signal that home was a short cab ride away for the duration of my time in Berlin. I love(d) that airport, however dysfunctional, and spent the best years of my life there. It’s strange to not be there anymore. Berlin and I had a dysfunctional relationship, but watching planes take off while eating breakfast at Tegel Terrace was always a wonderful time, and waiting at the gate to pick up friends and family is unheard of anywhere else.
And now I have JFK. As my plane landed in Queens last night, two hours later than it was supposed to, I realized that I had the same feeling of relief that I always had when touching down at home. New York doesn’t always feel like it’s where I belong right now, and I’m still adjusting to life here, but I know that when the wheels hit the runway, the battle is almost over. I’m safe, there are people here that love me, I’m home.
I’m not sure when I stopped feeling the need to shout every victory and defeat and fear and neurotic thought out to strangers on the Internet, but I do know that it has happened at a time when both the stresses and pleasures in life have grown and changed exponentially. I’m learning to adapt, I’m learning to work through things on my own (and with help), and I’m figuring out what’s important to me as a twenty-something.