Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Welcome Home - EWR, Newark, New Jersey

There is a moment that I love in the immigration line getting back into the US. Usually only one moment, as there is nothing less fun than shuffling around cordons like a bunch of fatigue-filled sheep. 

It comes after the immigration officer looks at my customs declaration, circles Brazil, asks me where I am living and what I am doing and how long I've been there. It is when he, and my experience is that it is usually a "he", says "Welcome home" and stamps that paper with that wonderful metal stamper that echoes in the room.

Welcome home, he says. And this phrase sticks me with me the whole day as I shuttle from rental car counter to lunch date with a new friend to visiting five houses in my quest for a new place to live. And this is not home, not Boston, since I was born and raised in NYC, New York state and Connecticut. And it doesn't feel like home as I drive along these streets with bare trees and snowflakes start to fall on this the first days of spring. 

Welcome home to a place that I haven't lived in 25 years. I am talking about New England now, a place unique, funny and silly in its own way. In two weeks, people will dress up for Patriot's Day and re-enactments on the Lexington Square. The customs officer saw Winchester written on my customs form as the address where I would stay and says "say, I love the name of that town" as he pats his handgun. The crazy accent of "cahs" and "pahking" (cars and parking) that you think only exists in the movies. But it exists, even in the AT&T Wireless store where I get my prepaid card.

As Bill Bryson wrote it, I am a stranger here myself. Not Brazilian, not American. Happy and sad at the same time.

Welcome home.


I will be traveling the week of March 31 and posts may be later or shorter than usual. Still counts for the year of daily posts! ;)

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