Lately I’ve been having some interesting conversations with people regarding returning “Home.” Our ages and sexes may vary, but one thing we all agree upon is that you can never go back “Home” once you have lived away for a long period of time. You can return to the same physical places, but “Home” just is never the same as when you left.
Joe South expresses it well in this song:
Times change and people change. We may return to that hometown where we hold so many memories, but that’s all they are now. They’re only memories. While some hometowns have dwindled in population and indeed may even have vanished off the map, others have grown and often become unrecognizable.
Each time I return to my hometown of Winnipeg, it feels less and less like “Home”. People who were once important to me have moved away or passed away. Others have moved into new houses, condos or apartments. Even my doctors’ offices have all moved into different buildings.
Green spaces have been transformed into new roadways and housing developments. My former commutes have changed and seem so strange and unwelcoming now. The airport is a relatively new facility that I am not at all familiar with. Many of my favorite restaurants have vanished. Large chains have bought up smaller grocery stores. The stores in the malls have changed and big box stores have sprung up everywhere. Even the movie theaters are different and have relocated.
The one thing that does not appear to have changed is the stressful pace of life. The almighty clock still dictates the daily frenzy of activity. I honestly do not miss those frantic days of multi-tasking and logging way too many kilometers on my car in the face of almost impossible time constraints. I have now veered out of that fast lane and have found a calmer and more peaceful way of life.
Yes, when expats here get together here, the discussion inevitably turns to the topic of “Home.” We have all had similar experiences when we return to our hometowns for visits. And while we all have hometowns elsewhere in other countries, Mexico is now the place we call “Home.”