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.

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