I’m back home.
|selfie from the elevator in my Nani's apartment|
And that’s not to say that I’m the only one that feels these things, of course. My good friend and former roommate Adriana, who was born in El Salvador and lived there for much of her life, feels the same love/pain for her own country of origin. We know each other’s pain, we see it when we talk about homesickness, and the years it’s been since we’ve been back home to visit, and the feeling of getting off a plane and crying and walking toward the airport’s exit and anticipating all the people who have been waiting for you.
|my cousin Dev + me :))|
Return is inevitable. And though I always have to leave, I try to remember that I can always come back. That India will always, always be there.
I’m so grateful that my parents took me and my brother to India over alternate summers growing up. They made it a priority in their adult lives to revisit, and I make it a priority in mine to do the same.
This is my first visit to India as an adult, or “adult,” if we’re to be more honest and accurate. It’s my first visit post-college in any case, my first return post-study abroad, when I was here for five months, now 3.5 years ago. Now I’m back for five and a half weeks. Here for my first Navaratri and Diwali past the age of two, too.
|my Mami's cooking :)|
(You guys I’m going to eat everything. I don’t plan much anymore but I do plan food bucket lists. I’ve never been to Taco Bell in India! I haven’t had a proper falooda/kati roll/pav bhaji/dahi puri in LONG ENOUGH! I’m going to absolutely lose my mind eating all the things I can eat. Ugh. It’s going to be great.)
And I’m going to be spending time with family of course. By now I’ve reunited with some of my favorite people, surprised a few as well, including my maternal grandparents, aunt, uncle, and cousin. I’m most looking forward to just being in the same room as some of my people I love most. I’ll save the senti-ness for IRL interactions with the people receiving said feelings. Because another main goal of this and every trip to India is to just be here. To just soak in everything around me and de-Americanize my brain a little.
Anyway, stay tuned for all the food and non-food posts to come. I don’t know what you’re here for, but I assume it’s for the food. Or maybe you’re bored in the middle of a workday. I don’t know.
But since you are reading this, thank you. Thank you especially if you’re someone who read this blog back when it was active, back before I felt comfortable calling myself a writer. This blog taught me how much I loved to write, and some days when a deadline is looming over my head and the words that come out don’t feel right, I think about this blog. It feels wild to be writing this post with a few bylines under my belt, because when I wrote here last, it very much felt like that was never going to happen. And while I’m still very much in the throes of professional self-doubt and feeling like my career is never really going to happen, this blog is a bit affirming. Not of my career necessarily, but of me — why I write, what it feels like to write for myself, what it feels like to have an idea that I don't have to pitch or fine-tune or tailor to a publication.