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People need logic and reasons they can connect to.
I scramble for those reasons: the facts, the figures, the likes, the dislikes so they can make sense to others. To me they don’t.
There really is only ONE answer.
BECAUSE IT FEELS RIGHT
I’ve given that as the answer and it’s been met with blank, unresponsive stares waiting to hear something a bit more concrete.
I’m sorry that I can’t.
I’ll never forget the moment when I felt it, when I knew this place was for me.
It was inconsequential; There were no great lessons or monumental events happening.
I had only just arrived in Raleigh, North Carolina. We were picked up at the airport in a minivan to take us to the hotel where our orientation would be. Our group of Aussie teachers were tired, yet excited to learn more about our new home and our future jobs as cultural exchange teachers.
I knew nothing of Raleigh. The first I heard of it was sitting in my living room in Dublin when local Raleigh boy Clay Aiken took to the American Idol stage.
My brother laughed when he heard where I was placed, “Out in the sticks?”
I inwardly groaned. This could be disastrous. I decided I would focus more on the weekends and school-breaks like East Coast road trips – the travel rather than the living.
For the next four years, every time I drove on the freeway going from the airport to Durham, where the hotel was, I would search for it. That place where I first felt the click.
I was gazing out the window, trying to get a sense of my new home, as I do when I arrive in any new place.
On either side of the highway sat a wall of towering green pines, the forest so thick and lush. I wondered what lay beyond the pine needles and could almost smell their freshness.
And that’s when I first felt it.
My whole being settled into place, like a token in a Vegas machine.
I had never really felt it before, so at first I did not understand what it was. I just knew that everything had changed and I felt content.
Logically it didn’t make sense; there were no beaches nearby, no thriving metropolis, no family, no friends, cold winters and barely anything I could recognize or connect to.
I wonder if maybe in a previous life, behind those towering pine trees and beside the lake they hid, I once roamed and that is why I felt like I belonged.
Later that afternoon, I went for a walk from our hotel to nearby Duke University. I walked down quiet suburban streets, the oil from the pine trees soaking into my skin.
The air was thick and fresh, not just from the humidity, but from something else.
I ventured into the campus, cobblestoned streets and Gothic architecture welcomed me in. Everything felt so warm and inviting.
I stared open mouthed; I wandered and felt it even more.
And from that moment on it grew. Every person I met, every place I visited, it became clear to me that I had arrived home.
I live in a beautiful country that I do love. I have the beach at my doorstep, endless opportunities, family nearby and friends all around me.
I know it doesn’t make sense. Logically it doesn’t, because despite all of this, I’d leave tomorrow just so I could return home.
So when people ask me in disbelief, “Why there? What is it about Raleigh that makes you want to live there?”
I can’t answer it. I try to give the reasons they are looking for, but the logic does make me sound crazy.
I really just want to say the truth.
Because to me it feels like home.
And that ‘s the only thing that makes sense.
Disclaimer: Dukie fans, this does not mean I am a Dukie supporter. I did meet your campus first and loved it, however Carolina Blue stole my heart long before I had even met either college teams.
Does another country feel like home to you? Do you struggle to explain why?…
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