The Squeaky Robot

A Meddling Robot in a Human's World

Posts tagged “home

Born to Leave the USA

Posted on February 18, 2014

Today was so windy the smog practically rolled south of Hoan Kiem lake; it was the clearest view I’ve had of the tiny gray pagoda in the center. Walking along the water’s edge, on my way to the post office, it was the first time I felt that I belonged here; not to say I have the sturdy belonging of a local born and bred, obviously, but something much more than the fleeting existence of a tourist. In other words, an expat. The question I am most confronted with these days is, “Why Hanoi?” It’s a natural question, one that follows the dictums of polite conversation with strangers, but I still hesitate despite the frequent opportunities to get it right. The short, manufactured answer…

Living in a City I Once Backpacked Through, or Plants and Animals

Posted on January 14, 2013

The frame of mind needed for backpacking isn’t calibrated to place, but to time. When you’re not sleeping, you’re going, somewhere, anywhere that will have you. Consequently, the eyes of a backpacker are never quite the same as those people who carry purses or briefcases, people I enjoy calling Plants – rooted, sedentary people (these are not inherent lifelong traits, but rather a state of being. I’m a Plant right now in Washington DC, for example). Consequently, you see the world differently as a backpacker, as an Animal whose vision is so sporadic and fast-changing, constantly adjusting and focusing on ephemeral stimuli, that everywhere you go becomes one large and beautiful blur. It’s difficult to get the full picture when you’re on a steady,…

You Can’t Go Home Again

Posted on December 26, 2012

My purse pocket was the place I’d scavenge to make the bus fare. Now, finding shiny two-ruble pieces and old bus tickets in every crevice, I’m reduced to a whimper. Suddenly nothing is garbage anymore and every photo is precious regardless of its quality. Suddenly it feels like I’ve been in the US for twenty years, not three days, and Russia is nothing but a distant memory stored away in the farthest corners of my prefrontal cortex. Accurately describing the feelings, the anxieties, the general haziness of heart and mind when arriving Home from a long trip is a feat beyond my capacities. But if you don’t know the heart-wrenching despair you may experience when you step on that place heading home to comfort,…