Becoming a visitor in a place we used to call home is a fascinating experience that allows us to soak up a familiar place in new ways.
Traveling back to Washington, DC, I became immersed in the city, no longer as a resident but instead as a visitor. I walked into this trip with no expectations. I knew it would be a relaxing, reflective, and rejuvenating experience with friends and family.
Entering D.C. as the midnight blue sky blanketed the city, I felt a sense of calm and excitement. I was ecstatic to be back in my old stomping grounds amidst great people, food, and experiences to immerse myself in. As the city was sleeping, I was captivated by its quiet and desolate streets.
As the weekend progressed, I felt like my old self again, gallivanting from neighborhood to neighborhood to experience some of my favorite spaces. Whether it was indulging in delicious Sushi, tantalizing French cuisine, or the perfect cup of coffee, I was pleasantly reminded of the beautiful diversity of D.C. I quickly forgot how comforting it is to be amidst groups of culturally diverse people and cuisines. Stepping out of this city has made me realize how much I miss seeing people that look like me.
How much I miss not being the only one.
How much I miss meeting up with my friends in neighborhoods I've never experienced.
As I work through these things I miss, I am maintaining an open mind and heart. I'm letting go of my preconceptions and initial impressions in order to experience all that South Dakota has to offer and find my outlets here.
But what I found most interesting from the entire trip was my sentiments of returning home. I was surprisingly not overwhelmed with sadness or lamenting in leaving the hustle and bustle of the city. I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent with friends and family but was looking forward to stepping back into the quaint and quiet town of Vermillion.
Realizing our deep appreciation for a place that holds so many memories and that our home is no longer there is priceless. We are, then, able to focus on embracing our journey in this new space. Always cherishing those experiences from our past.
Whenever we travel, it's easy to hit the ground running and to be engrossed in a million activities that we plan. But instead of exhausting ourselves and trying to do it all, we MUST remember to take time for ourselves and those we deeply care about.
We should not abandon the memories that a space holds to appreciate the differences between that space as it was, frozen in time, and the new way in which we are meeting the space now.