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Isn't it pretty?

Friday, January 21, 2005

Sweet Home Alabama

I spent the first part of this week visiting my family in Alabama. I spent my high school and post-high school years (a total of nine) living there, but moved away about five years ago. I hadn't been back in two years, and it was a weird sensation being there again.

Things have changed a lot since I last lived there. My father is remarried, living in a new house, one of my brothers has moved out into an apartment, and another brother is living in Tuscaloosa at the University of Alabama (Roll Tide). There has been a lot of construction, new license plates (see the pic above), and people moving in and out since I left. My friends are, for the vast majority, gone; I didn't have many people to visit.

It was really weird, I expected to be returning home. My old stomping ground, where I (kind of) grew up. I expected that the minute my plane touched down, I would feel as if I had never left.

That isn't exactly what I found. There was something slightly elusive that kept me from feeling like it was home. It was familiar, but not completely comfortable. Maybe it was all the new things; the fact that I was staying as a guest, not a resident; or the fact that so much had changed over the past two years. Heck, I have changed. A lot.

As my plane to come home to Baltimore (I realize that my home is Baltimore now) was taking off, and the cars and buildings became smaller and smaller from my window, I saw what I had felt during my trip. Like seeing things from a plane window, Alabama is not quite real to me any more. It is a memory that you don't quite recognize, that is just a bit too far away from the reality you know. You can't touch it, or maybe it doesn't quite touch me, anymore. Home has changed. Or maybe it is me who has done the changing.

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