The trip to Japan in February was the first time that I got on a plane since I moved to Denver in November. I wondered what it would be like to return. I was hoping that, upon arrival after a trip that was foreign in so many ways, I would immediately be ensconced by that wonderful feeling that I often get after a big trip: "Ah, relief, I'm home." I really wanted to feel this way.
As I deplaned at the Denver airport after 1:00 a.m. on early Monday morning, I was very excited to see Barry (who insisted on picking me up at the airport in spite of the ungodly time), but otherwise that feeling of relaxation upon returning home just wasn't there. While I felt like I knew every inch of Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, including every crappy place to eat when you have hours to kill, Denver International Airport is still an unknown to me. It may be far superior to the ATL airport but I don't know it well yet. Of course, it's not just about the airport. We haven't been here long enough to form the kinds of memories and associations that create the feeling of "home" that I was craving.
This made me think about what the definition of "home" actually is, so I looked up the meaning. The primary definition of "home" is "a place where one lives; residence; dwelling place." Maybe it's because we still own a home in Atlanta or maybe it's because we're renting in Denver and know that this is not a forever situation, these definitions were no help to me in my quest for the meaning of "home" that I was looking for. "Home" can also be defined as "native habitat, place of origin," but that would be New Jersey in my case, and, believe me, I ALWAYS feel like an alien when I fly into Newark Airport. So no help there.
But, as I worked my way down the lists of definitions of "home," I did find some that struck a chord: "an environment offering security and happiness"; "a valued place regarded as a refuge"; and "a familiar or usual setting: congenial environment". Studying these meanings, I realized that all of these explanations of "home" take time and familiarity - I guess I need to be patient - 4 months does not a home make. So, despite Thomas Wolfe's belief that "You Can't Go Home Again", I'm hopeful that I will be home again. Just not yet.