I was overjoyed to pick my mother-in-law up from the international airport today. She had flown all the way from Washington DC – from DC to LA to Tokyo to Kuala Lumpur to KK. The trip takes about 3 days. She has the benefit of being a nurse, used to changing her sleep schedule. We had the difficulty of traveling with two young kids who could not sleep once we entered our new hemisphere.
I had not been to the airport since we were picked up there. I remember very little of that first trip… we were all overwhelmed. But today as we drove, my mother-in-law was snapping photos and I realized how wonderful it is to have her perspective here, now. She is not as overwhelmed, she has guides that already know her, and she only has to last two weeks here! But her response to what she was seeing brought me a lot of joy. It was the kind of time when you see your life through someone else’s eyes, and realize the wonder and excitement before you every day.
She took pictures of buildings that I now call ordinary. She took pictures of palm trees. She took a picture of me, driving on the right-hand side of the car. She took a lot of pictures, and now when I see them, I think, these are far from ordinary.
Each place has its wonder, that doesn’t have to wear off; or at least, it can be rekindled. An apartment building can be amazing in its weaving of culture, architecture, personal styles, and frankly, laundry. It’s all there waiting to be beheld.
Yet at the end of the day, it was this picture that captured the spirit of the day:
We all want to come home, somehow, whether it’s to a familiar place, or to the arms of family. This moment between our homesick son and his newly arrived Nana gave a context, a grounding, for all the other pictures. Places have meaning because of what they tell us about ourselves or one another, and today this city of ours was a place where we embraced and were embraced. All the memories we share, the wonders we behold, have meaning to us because they are how we connect to our world and one another. We aren’t collecting images, we are finding life together.