Home for the Holidays

December 19th, 2012 | Shonali Burke | 13 Comments

durga pujaTomorrow, I’m going “home” for Christmas. To India.

It’s bound to be emotional.

I haven’t been home for Christmas in over 10 years, and I suspect while much has changed, much has probably remained the same.

Image: arindam.ttb via Flickr, CC 2.0

It will be a reunion for my family, since all of us siblings will be home at the same time. To top it off, it’s also my high school’s 25th reunion (boy, am I glad I started getting healthy a year ago!), so you can imagine just how crazy it will be.

I’m excited, but I’m also nervous. You see, I’ve changed so much… we all have. And while I say I’m going “home,” I don’t know that it is home.

Home is wherever my husband is.

Home is San Francisco, even though I haven’t lived in the Bay Area for almost nine years.

Home is my little house in the DC ‘burbs, where I feel enveloped in warmth and love and sloppy doggy kisses.

Home is my laptop, or iPad, or iPhone, when I get to talk, or IM, with you.

Am I really going home?

Or am I going to a place I once called home, but that is now thronged by shadowy memories, and in whose reality I myself become a shadow?

I suppose I’m nervous, that home won’t feel like home.

That reconnecting with my former classmates will be tough, though many, many of them have been nothing but warmly welcoming, at least as evidenced by their Facebook posts.

That I have become irrevocably, undeniably, that child of displacement, the American in India, and the Indian in America.

I don’t know how this visit will turn out… but I will find out one way or another.

So while you may see me on social networks here and there, you won’t see me on WUL until January. We have a couple more terrific guest posts running this week, and then we’ll take a break – as, I suspect, you will too – for the holidays, and see you again in 2013.

Have a blessed holiday with those you love. Be safe with the New Year’s Eve revelries, and I wish you hope, health and happiness for 2013… and I’ll see you soon!

email
Shonali Burke
Head honcho of Waxing UnLyrical, Shonali Burke is President & CEO of Shonali Burke Consulting, Inc. Based in the Washington, D.C., area, she loves helping for- and non-profit clients, both small and large, turn corporate codswallop into community cool™. She also loves ABBA, bacon, cooking, dogs, and Elvis. Wouldn't you like to be in her kitchen?
Shonali Burke
Shonali Burke
Shonali Burke

Latest posts by Shonali Burke (see all)

Print Friendly
Opt In Image

"A Little Birdie Told Me" could fly into your inbox just once a month. It's Shonali-as-seen-nowhere-else. What're you waiting for?

12 comments
tressalynne
tressalynne

Safe travels, Shonali! And, give your mum a big hug from me :)  

rachaelseda
rachaelseda

You're going to have a blast!! xoxo!

Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes
Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes

Hi Shonali,

I don't know when you will see this but wanted to say have a great trip. It sounds like it will be wonderful. Be safe and we'll be here when you get back.

mdbarber
mdbarber

Have a wonderful time as I'm sure you will. Many of us have two homes...at least in our hearts. And I think that's okay. I still call Portland my hometown and have wonderful memories and friends there...and family. I'm guessing that you'll make new memories while you're there that rekindle your India home and that you'll be grateful to return to DC and your American home. We all need to keep room for both places in our hearts so we remember where we've been and what made us who we are today. Have a wonderful time. Try to relax and just go with the flow. Can't wait to hear about it when you return. Merry Christmas!

Latest blog post:

KDillabough
KDillabough

Really interesting perspective Shonali. It's been said you "can't go home again", but I think that applies only when we set expectations. You readily recognize you've changed (as we all do): time, circumstances, experiences, growth and heck...even the weather creates change that, if we expect things to be the way they were, we are often setting ourselves up for disappointment.

Go with love in your heart, excitement coursing through you, and acceptance of all that is when you land "home". I wish you much happiness...and I'll look forward to seeing lots of photos:) Cheers! Kaarina

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

I lived in LA for 17 years after spending 7 years in Phoenix-NY-North Carolina-NY so I identify with your feelings immensely. I remember not seeing the fall change of seasons for 4 years when I went to Arizona State and ran to get y camera on a bike ride because I was blown away (same after 17 years in LA). I never did Christmas or Thanksgiving with family all those years. I spent it with friends. Very weird doing it with my family and now my new family. And always amazed at change. The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying says change is the only thing guaranteed in life. very hard for most people. We get older. Our friends and family do. Neighborhoods change. Governments change (they used to let you smoke pot on the Long Island Rail Road until they banned cigarettes Booze is still legal. Though the trains don't have bar cars anymore for the evening commute home).

I always enjoyed going to NYC and Long Island and going to my old haunts or places they used to be if they don't exist anymore. Something about that makes me content. Now I need to get back to LA been 3 years almost since my last visit. I miss my friends and the city/beach.

have fun and Feliz Navidad!

KirkHazlett
KirkHazlett

I hope you have a wonderful holiday, @Shonali. The beautiful thing about "going home" is that a special part of you never left, and you will find it when you return and marvel at how "comfortable" it feels to be there. Safe travels, my friend, and Happy Holidays!!

Shonali
Shonali moderator

@Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes I wanted to check in before we left, so I'm seeing it nice and early. :) Thank you so much, my friend - I hope you have a wonderful holiday season too!

Shonali
Shonali moderator

@mdbarber Thank you so much! I wish I could take all of you to India with me. I would so love to show you around. Merry Christmas to you too, my friend!

Shonali
Shonali moderator

@KDillabough You said that so beautifully I have nothing to add. Thank you so much, Kaarina. Oh - I forgot to tell you, I got your card and laughed so much at the "snowflake" - I loved it! Thank you so much for thinking of me, and Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Shonali
Shonali moderator

@HowieG Don't you feel like we're nomads? My husband and I joke... only kinda sorta... that we must have grown old because we've now lived in the same place longer than anywhere else. 

I read the Tibetan book YEARS ago and it remains one of my favorites of all time! I remember when people caught me reading that, they thought I had a death wish or something. So not true.

Have a wonderful holiday season yourself, my friend... see you soon!

Shonali
Shonali moderator

@KirkHazlett You are so wonderful with words, Kirk. Thank you so much! I hope you have a wonderful holiday season as well and so look forward to chatting again soon!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] recall that before we left 2012, I told you I was going to India for a long overdue trip home. Well, we had a wonderful time catching up with family, friends and high school buddies (my [...]

map