Just had a great conversation with a friend about how, to me, home is people. Home's a slippery kind of idea -- my Dad just moved to a new church in Niagara Falls, which is great, but it also means that the house where I lived for most of my last decade and a little, is no longer my house. I don't have a bedroom in Canada anymore, by any stretch. There are numerous couches I could probably crash upon, but none that I'd call my space. Even if I DID go back, Agassiz has changed so much from the way I remember it for me that I wouldn't really feel like I belong there (at least in the way I used to).
But you know, I'm not complaining, really. Coming to Korea my first year hurled me so far out of my comfort zones that I had to create some new ones, fast, so now home is not so much a house or a place with my posters on the wall (though that's nice). Rather, home for me has become a starbucks latte on a sunday afternoon, a long walk around my neighbourhood after work, cooking one of my specialty dishes for a friend, showing a friend a restaurant I love, hanging out with someone around whom I don't have to talk or entertain. Curling up on a coffee shop chair and writing poetry. As long as I have access to these things, I'm no longer too far from home, and if I'm near somebody who can ask me good questions, I'm set!
More than anything else, though, home for me is people. Having people around me who know me and respect me gives me a grounding from which I can go off in other directions.
By the way:
I'm listening to Cat Stevens right now (speaking of feelings of home). Wow, this guy's great. He isn't the best singer, not the best musician or composer by any measure, and his songwriting, while simple and well put-together, certainly isn't as clever or intriguing as a Tom Waits or a Leonard Cohen (and certainly not as intentionally obscure as Bob Dylan). Yet, despite that, listening to Cat Stevens, for some reason I can't quite name, is one of the most satisfying things I can think of. It's like sitting down and having a mug of coffee with a good friend -- not spectacular, not even quite memorable, just nice, and relaxing. After listening to one of his songs, I feel like I've gotten to know him a little, and that's nice. There's a warmth and a humour in his music that makes it easy to be around, like that friend in a group who doesn't always say a lot, but just manages to set everyone at ease, and seems to really enjoy everybody's company. So give Cat Stevens a try. You don't have to buy his box set or his complete works, but it's sure nice having his best of in your collection -- sort of like having a tin of hot cocoa powder in the cupboard. You don't have to use it often, but it's sure good to know it's there.
Modelling one of the shirts I bought.
Sliding down the rock slide at seven wells.
The tower on the highest peak of Langkawi Island. There was this fantastic structure with a bridge where tourists could wander (accessible by cable car). It was all held up by this tall tower support, and I have NO idea how they built that whole thing right up on top of a mountain. Best of all, there was a sign tucked away on one corner saying, "If you see dark clouds feel drizzle or rain, or see flashes of lightning, get off the tower immediately! That made me smile.
I may not have mentioned yet that it's really pretty there.
I climbed this rock and swam around in the waterfall pool. Then I looked up and right there, inches from my face, were three black toads, blinking up at the waterfall. I didn't go under the stream because I had no idea how deep the pool was, but it was pretty cool being that close to the waterfall.
On the way up, I was stepping over slippery rocks, and lost my footing as I tried to step around an eight-year-old kid. By twisting my body ridiculously, I managed to fall sideways into the water instead of crushing a child. Once I surfaced, I looked up, and Anthony was laughing at me.