I have been staring at this little box for over an hour now. I woke up at 4:30 — yay jet lag! — and while my eyes aren’t bleary and heavy with sleeplessness at the moment, I know that will come back, too. Like I did.
Yes, that sign does say “Welcome home, (girl) Connor! … yes, that is HER name!” Apparently I confuse people with that name of mine.
Well. As mother would say, I don’t appreciate being pigeonholed.
Oh, it is good to be home — to sit and laugh with (and sometimes at…) these people who know me best. In four hours we’ll trundle over to church and I’ll see more of my family, these friends of mine who have known me as I’ve grown from the awkwardly geeky fourteen year old from New York into the about-to-graduate senior at Penn… who can still be quite awkwardly geeky, now that I think about it. Somethings don’t change.
And, then again, somethings do. A lot of things, actually. A whole truck load of things, really, but sometimes a bit less. A person, maybe. Me. I spent eight hours flying yesterday, and when we landed I was no longer the international kid: I was the girl coming home. My family made me a sign, did you see? And they all showed up, all four of them. I almost cried.
There’s this line of poetry that I absolutely love. I dug it out of a hundred-year-old copy of Bartlett’s Quotations (seriously). The book is old and musty and slightly tattered, as all books should be when they reach that age, and it holds so, so many words. The words I love best, though, are a good hundred years older than the book itself. Keats wrote them, actually — so many, and so many, and such glee.
In this place of family and friends and life and love and beauty and laughter and, yes, some not-so-great times and some hard times and some really-really-stressful times —
So many, and so many, and such glee.
I love that, see, because joy multiplies. There’s this proverb that Becky and I quote at each other all the time, a Swedish proverb I found once and wrapped around myself so many times it became a part of me. Shared joy is double joy, shared sorrow is half sorrow.
So when you have joy in so many and so many — that does become such glee. It’s impossible for it to be anything else.
I watched four movies on that plane ride home. The Heat. Austenland. Epic. The Proposal.
The last two made me cry a bit. There’s something about seeing family in film — the different dynamics, the brokenness, the way they try to work out relationship and figure out how to love each other — that sets me off, especially when I’m not at home. As I sat there staring at the tiny screen and trying to pick which movies to watch, I thought about stories. I scrolled past Fight Club and Taken 2 and World War Z a few times, looking at the titles and wishing they had something like The Princess Bride or Tangled or How to Steal a Million. Those stories I know by heart. What fascinates me, though, are the stories I should know by heart — Harry Potter. Lord of the Rings. A Little Princess — and yet, somehow, they’re always new. Memory is a funny thing that way.
Living in Dublin was a bit like that, too. I’d be sitting in my room doing something or other — writing a paper, a blog post, an e-mail, uploading pictures — and all of a sudden I’d look up and stare out the window. A silly smile snakes across my face, my brows relax, and all of a sudden I’m practically bouncing in my seat: I’m in Ireland, I would think. I’m in Ireland! As much as I’m going to miss that feeling, I’ve been having a similar one already. I looked up from my pizza, my mess of half-unpacked duffle bags, or, this morning, from my cup of looseleaf chai I bought on Howth — and smiled. I’m home, see?