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  • Writer's pictureLogan Rose

Homecoming

Last week, I went back to Los Angeles for the first time since moving abroad. It got me thinking about the concept of "home."


I guess I can start by saying home is not a 13-hour flight, nor is it 24 consecutive hours of travel.


Also, I don't think anyone feels at home at LAX.


Jokes aside, returning to LA was jarring. The city sprawls forever, even from the sky. There are little boxes as far as the eye can see.


Getting out of LAX is also a trial by fire when it comes to handling LA traffic. Nevertheless, we made it home safely.


Home feels like my grandmother's house, and Grandma Joyce has this wonderful way of knowing exactly what we need at any given moment (especially the difficult ones).


When we arrived, haggard from travel, Grandma served us warm hugs, homemade chicken soup, a hot shower with fresh, fluffy towels, and a bed with lots of covers.


I fell asleep instantly.


Home Is What We Take with Us


The next day, we had lots of errands to run. Our day started at our former home, which is now just a house we no longer live in.


Still, evidence of us was scattered throughout, from the furniture and artwork we sold to our housemates to the handwritten labels I stuck to communal kitchen shelves.


There were also a few things we forgot to pack, and I was happy to grab them.


It's interesting to think about what we leave behind.


Still, I think home is what we take with us.


Today, I am washing one of the items I saved from my former home -- an old beach towel with my name embroidered into it -- a gift from my grandmother.


I'm starting to feel like this blog is very much about my Grandma Joyce, who I love very much.


It's also making me think about the poem, "Nomenclature," by Clint Smith, another piece that explores the concept of home (probably better than I'm doing it now).


Good People Are Good People


One of the best parts about being back in the United States after living in Germany was speaking English. It was delicious to eavesdrop again, and so many people are so kind if you give them the chance.


Specifically, our veterinary team at Hillcrest Pet Hospital was kindness, embodied. They helped us get my cat, Rizzo, ready for travel to Germany, and our contact, Nini, went above and beyond to alleviate any stress or worry and make us feel genuinely cared for.


People with pets are good people, and there are good people everywhere.

Family photo with cat
Cat tax. This is Rizzo loving our family portrait.

Good people make places feel like home.


...But There Are 'Karens' Everywhere


For every friendly face we saw in Los Angeles, there were some not so friendly ones. We saw two women get in a fight at the bank, and in general, people felt very angry.


We've had a few unpleasant encounters in Heidelberg, but the level of fury Americans are carrying around felt almost foreign to me upon coming home.


I didn't expect it, but I was really able to feel the difference between a society that cares for its people and one that... doesn't.


Disparity

My family members have been having some health problems lately, and they described full hospital beds -- even in higher-end hospitals and healthcare facilities.


Seeing how much the middle class is struggling makes me wonder how the working class is even getting by. I feel for them deeply, and I wish there was something I could do to help, but back in the LA, I was barely getting by myself.


I am glad this disparity and suffering are concepts I don't have to confront every day in my life abroad because it really takes a toll on me.


Even seeing the writer's strike on my social media feeds is an ever-present reminder that late-stage capitalism is really not working, particularly in the United States.


I really wish we could all just be less greedy and more gentle with each other.


Gentle People


Without a doubt, the best part about being "home," was seeing my friends and family, who exemplify being gentle with themselves and others.


We got to see our beautiful friends, Rebecca and Bijan, get married, we had a uproarious family dinner with loads of laughter, and we had the chance to celebrate our former housemate's 30th birthday and catch up with lots of loved ones (many of whom have also moved abroad).

couple in front of mountain sunset Yosemite
Celebrating Rebecca and Bijan's wedding in Yosemite!

It was also so special to be a visitor in Los Angeles because I was able to get three of my closest friends together for an impromptu dinner Sunday night, and usually that kind of thing is difficult.


There's something about time being limited that makes gatherings even sweeter.


I am so lucky to have such an incredible international community, but I've always struggled to create that feeling in my own home.


(That's one of my goals back in Heidelberg, but I've got a cold from traveling, so it may have to wait a moment...)


Home Is Somewhere Else Now


One of the most fascinating aspects of our trip to Los Angeles was coming back home to Heidelberg.


It felt nice to be back in the temperate weather, and my brain switched quickly to pleasantries in German (greetings, please, and thank you are about the only words I feel confident with).


We also got to bring our kitty cat home, put some gold placemats on the table, and drape a throw over the couch, all of which make the whole place feel different.


Further, both of us had to go to work upon landing, and I think a big part of home is that home is where you have responsibilities. Home is where you're expected to stay.


No wonder it's such a fraught term.


Do you have thoughts on home? What does home mean to you? I'm always available to chat and write about concepts like this right here on my website, via Instagram, or at loganrosereadsandwrites at gmail.com

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