When I have dreams while I am traveling, my subconscious doesn’t know where to go. Sometimes I dream I’m back in Holmes County at Amish gatherings. Sometimes I dream I’m in some amorphous, name-less place with friends from every era of my life. My friends from Charlottesville are there and my friends from Millersburg and Bluffton University are there and we’re all hanging out on my lunch-break from some job that doesn’t exist in a town that doesn’t exist either. My mind wants to collect all of the things I miss from the U.S. and put them in one dream and it ends up being a patchwork of places and things from random times in my life.
All of this is simply to say that, while I haven’t really felt “homesick” per say, there are things that I think about and miss in a sentimental moment of reflection or when something sparks a memory.
The other day for instance, the family here at Hoky Homestay invited us to share some cake for a special occasion. Little baby Goman (a variation of the name Yoman, mentioned in a previous blog) had just turned one in the second week of January. This seemed like an uncanny coincidence. His birthday happened to fall just two days after my nephew’s first birthday on the ninth, and my little nephew Kian had been on my mind frequently in the days approaching his first birthday. He is my first and only nephew, so this earns him a lot of my attention, even from afar.
Kian and Goman have almost nothing in common. Kian was a walking machine at around ten months, prancing about as if he’d waited his whole, short life to do so. Goman is shyly experimenting with the marvel of his own legs. Kian is a bald little boy. And a bit of a cryer. Goman has a head of thick, black hair. And he rarely fusses or cries more than a brief little whimper when he’s hungry. When I try to find similarities between the two boys, there are few. Kian lives in a world of car-seats and outlet covers. Goman on the other hand rides the motor-bike with his mom or dad and sits in his mother’s lap in the passenger seat of the family van.
Even so, I find myself paying attention to Goman. And as I do, Kian is always in mind. I can’t really send Kian letters or skype with him. He isn’t going to remember a thing that happens over a computer screen and it won’t likely hold his attention anyway. But I can remember him when I watch little Goman learn and explore. While Goman practices his cautious steps, I wonder where Kian’s confident ones are taking him. While Goman picks and examines a toy or a stick, I wonder what new things Kian’s little hands are grasping.
It’s a little thing, but it feels like a tiny way to connect with home. In a place where internet is rarely fast enough to support skype and my email account goes in and out of working order, I appreciate any little connection.
Happy birthday Goman and Kian.