Yesterday, I departed Orlando for my 10 day trip back to my hometown of St. Louis. Waiting in the airport, I had the feeling that the flight would not be a comfortable one; children were abundant and screaming, fresh from their wild adventures at Disney World. In fact, one gorgeous looking curly-topped boy in particular spent the entire 1.5 hour wait running from one side of the waiting area to the other, in front of the window and just past the chair I was sitting in, forcing his very lanky looking mother to run after him with arms outstretched. There was a pole with a keypad on it that seemed to hold the same appeal to him as a rocket ship, and he took great pleasure in voicing his discontent every time his mother managed to pry him off the thing.
So, of course it was no surprise to me that I was seated right next to this boy and the mother on the airplane. The surprise that did come was that as soon as the plane ascended, the boy dropped off to sleep and slept almost the entirety of the 2.5 hour flight. However, behind me was a mother who kept scolding her toddling, 2 year old-ish child harshly. At one point I heard, clearly, "you been at gramma's one week a'ready and you acting like such a baby...a spoiled baby", and I thought, well...the child LOOKS about 2 years old. How is he/she supposed to act? The worst out of all of the child scenarios, however, was the one towards the back of the plane that could be audibly heard by everyone. As soon as the plane started to descend, this particular child started crying and screaming, "I want to be off of this plane!! I don't want to be on here anymore!! Get me off of here mama, get me off of here, please!!!!" This was particularly traumatizing, because as we all know, the act of flying itself can be stressful for a lot of people. That, coupled with this child's lamentations, really was cause for one to start hyperventilating.
Lucky for me, we touched down and I felt a feeling of overwhelming peace and joy...it was so strong, I almost started to cry. The voices of all the children started to mellow when I realized that I was home, and it had been so long since I had been here. This is a place that I have such a strong emotional connection to. I was born here, grew up here, and had so many life experiences here-not to mention that it is home to a few of my best friends and so many connections. It's impossible not to feel bonded to this place.
Soon after I landed I was met by my father at baggage claim, and we headed to downtown Clayton for dinner. We were originally planning to go to Chez Leon, but were informed by a half toothless concierge that "thur [was] a prahvate pahrta" going on. After that lovely intrigue, I remembered that we were very close to one of my favorite sushi restaurants called "Tani". It is owned by the same people who own "Haruno", my favorite sushi restaurant in Springfield. So, we went there and had the most amazing sushi and sashimi...my personal favorite is the "Eye of the Tiger" roll. I could have thousands of those. In any case, it was nice spending time hanging out with my dad. I don't get to do that very often!
This morning I woke up at my friend Kate's house (after a lovely night of catching up with her) in U. City, and went to my former workplace: the St. Louis JCC (Creve Coeur). I was instantly greeted by some of the amazing people I used to work with, and was able to spend some time talking with them. Then I went out to lunch with my former boss, James, and we had a really wonderful time. I was so glad I got to reconnect with these people.
The odd thing is that this place is just like I remember it. Everything about it is the same as it was yesterday...only I am the one who is different. I feel different in it; foreign, strange. It's like traveling back in time, though so much has happened between now and then.
I have concluded that I am a different person than I was when I lived here. Because of that fact, I don't think I would ever choose to live here again. Right now this just seems like a beautiful dream of nostalgia, an island off the coast of life I've envisioned for myself and continue to circumnavigate. I appreciate it, I love it, and I will always visit it when I can. However, I have moved on. the purpose of my life is still a mystery and so I must go forward and explore. Until then, I am just listening to the cacophonous sound of multivariate birds and the quiet wind slithering through the brilliant blooms on the Dogwood trees at the house in Wildwood, and loving the feeling of peace and serenity that only gorgeous nature can afford us (well, I'm also looking forward to the cacophonous sounds of the people at the bars and restaurants in U. City, Clayton, CWE, Tower Grove...etc. Not gonna lie ;).
Anyway, I hope other people out there are feeling as peaceful as I am right now.
Much love, xoxo,