I am home.
I don't know when that happened.
For a long time, I missed twenty-four hour supermarkets with a cereal aisle the length of a city block. (I still miss produce sections bigger than my apartment.) I missed Taco Bell and Mountain Dew and the friends who didn't think two AM was too late to drop by unexpectedly, even on a weeknight. I missed Barnes and Noble and chai lattes in the programming section.
I missed understanding the conversation behind me in line.
I miss New York pizza.
This friend of mine, she told me once, "I don't make friends with the short timers. I can't take it when they leave."
Me and her, I guess when they're talking about us back in the US, they'd call us ex-pats.
It's the wrong word; they mean emigrants.
We're not war immigrants from Somalia, from Iraq. The places we come from, they're still standing. Moving forward. There's a new strip mall, the colors on the houses change. The people, they don't change so much.
We're not economic immigrants from Bulgaria or Latvia or Hungry, exercising our right to live and work in a more remunerative part of the EU. We aren't sending money home, planning to return someday.
We came to live our lives here, have our families here, to grow old and die here. We knew it when we left; we knew it when we arrived. We were the ones--it could have gone either way--that gave up home. The great loves, they always demand something.
When I call my mom, she tells me how things are. Things at home. Like I've gone to summer camp, to college.
She says, "When are you coming home."
I say, "Mom, I am home."