Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Littlest Hobo

One of my co-workers has nicknamed me 'the littlest hobo', and considering some of the other nicknames I have been stuck with, it isn't so bad. And really I suppose that, as the old cliche goes, if the shoe fits... wear it. 'Hobo' brings to mind a grotty mental image of a homeless person with patched clothes and a stick with a little parcel all tied to the end, but I have been told that it is actually just an abbreviation for the words homeward bound. This works for me, this meaning. Over the last 9 years, since I moved out of my parents house, I have traveled around the globe and managed to be welcomed in to more homes and families than I would have ever thought possible. Last weekend, I had yet another incredible surf adventure, and I spent my time in Cimaja chatting with all the surfer kids, in my broken-yet-surprisingly-effective Indonesian. One stormy afternoon, I was invited to see the kampung where all these kids live, and it was an opportunity I couldn't pass up. Maybe this is bragging, but I will say that there were other foreigners hanging out as well, but I was the only one invited to their village. Upon arriving in this little community, I was escorted around from house to house, being offered fruit and snacks everywhere I went, and of course there was the requisite photo-taking and baby-holding... that is just a given! What touched me the most, is that these families, living with on average maybe 6 or 8 people in a house that matches in size a cramped two bedroom apartment, were all offering me a place to stay, and treating me as if I were their flesh and blood, coming back after a long journey. This generosity is really extraordinary to me, because when someone has nothing, in terms of material wealth, all they can offer is love and friendship, and what makes a place a home more than that? It seems like homeward bound is really just a perpetual state of being that ebbs and flows, and that home is a feeling that blindsides me in the moments when I need it the most. Forget the saying about home being the place you hang your hat, it is simply wherever people open their hearts up wide and welcome you in. The world is a beautiful place.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Infinite Love

This Mother's Day, I am away from home yet again, and regardless of time difference and the vast distance between us, I am thinking of my Mum. The two of us have never really had an easy relationship; I have heard stories about my middle of the night acrobatics in utero, and the all the other problems that I caused throughout my nine months (and those extra three weeks that I tagged on at the end) in the womb. It didn't end there, as I turned out to be the one in the family who had the most insecurities, nightmares, emergency trips to the hospital, and also the most extravagantly time consuming activity of anyone I know. I think it is safe to say that my mom probably didn't much enjoy any of those aspects of my childhood, and you would think that she breathed a sigh of relief when I reached adulthood, but since I have left home, I have done nothing but make her worry more. Having a child living in a developing country on the other side of the globe is not doing anything to slow the graying of her hair. In the grand scheme of things, none of this really matters. The simple truth is that I have learned from my mum an infinite amount about what it means to love another human being, even when that other human being (ahem, me) isn't being particularly lovable. This unconditional love has left me with the solid roots of a good family and the wings to chase my dreams wherever they may take me.
Mummy, I love you.

Photo by Ron Layzell, May 2008