it is day 1 back in seattle from our 8 day wedding trip back to the homeland of detroit.

1st impression of detroit upon being back? the smells.

very chemical smells everywhere. how come i never noticed that when i lived there?

the lawns reek of chemicals, the manufacturing plants spew out chemical clouds, and the air is just laden with chemical smells of unknown origins. i’m not one of those chemically sensitive people who gags if someone wears perfume in a public space or needs a HEPA filter in order to function. my drink of choice for most of my adult years was coca-cola, so i’m hardly averse to chemicals. but it’s interesting to me that in spite of the seattle area having so much more actually growing and being produced, detroit just smells so much more like they’re trying to produce things… maybe it’s the old idea of getting blood from a stone or something, but it was so sad to me that detroit smelled like a chem lab gone wrong. it was kind of like seeing your first love again, only they gained 300 pounds, lost their front teeth, had liver spots and hairy moles all over their face, and then had bad breath to boot. and they were wearing a sky blue polyester leisure suit that was 3 sizes too small. perhaps with white pleather go-go boots. ok, enough said.

next impression of detroit? that you never quite get over that first love, even with all of the above imperfections. i love their maniacal driving, i love their attitude (like if they get your order wrong in a restaurant and they act like you caused the problem by ordering something they didn’t feel like making…), i love their ghetto posturing- even when it’s totally uncalled for and out of context- like when they are buying gum at the 7-11. i love that every store you want to go to is seriously 5 minutes away (even though here the drives are more beautiful, convenience counts for a lot when you’re in a rush…), and i love that the terrain is flat and the streets are laid out in a grid. i love that people think you need air conditioning just because it’s the summer, regardless of the actual temperature (i spent a lot of time being cold, but my kids were in heaven).

but most of all, i think i just love that detroit is where i’m most me. even though i’ve made friends in seattle, they aren’t the friends who’ve known me for decades. there are people here who i like tremendously, and i hope they will become my close close friends, but there’s just something to be said for people who have seen you through years and years and years. detroit is where i inhabit my own skin. detroit is where i never ramble because i’m filling up air time with people who i want to talk to but don’t have much to talk about with. detroit is where i’m in my essence. i’m at my best and i’m at my worst and it’s all rolled together into a messy package of me-ness that people here have no concept of. detroit is where i’m tethered to my roots.

but maybe that means i can’t grow and blossom there either.

maybe there’s such a thing as being too tethered.

maybe sometimes you have to dig up your root ball and bloom where you’re planted.

maybe the new and reinvented julie can be even better in seattle.

when we were coming through the airport (i think in utah?) there was a buddhist nun in the line at security. she was SO beautiful it was almost unreal. i know you aren’t supposed to say that about a buddhist nun, and you probably shouldn’t think that about any nun. she was wearing a super drab grey cape dress thing and a creme colored head scarf and some birkenstock-type sandals (no socks) and a belt with brown wooden beads (prayer beads? meditation beads?) hanging from it. she had the most amazing colored skin, like really creamy coffee, and brown brown eyes, and she looked very peaceful- exactly how a buddhist should look, but exactly how i’ve never seen anyone actually look in real life. and in the middle of the chaos of airport security she was this tranquil island… very calm and deliberate… she probably weighed about 85 pounds and she looked like if someone coughed on her she would blow over, but at the same time she looked like a hurricane couldn’t sway her. she was just so steadfast… and she radiated such a beauty from within, that even though she was completely modest in every sense of the word, i couldn’t help just staring at her. if i had less social awareness (and you all know how totally smooth i am socially- hahahaha) i literally would have stared at her with my mouth hanging open.

and i thought to myself then, and i’m thinking to myself now, “THAT”S how i wish i could be! THAT”S what i should aspire to!”

we all know that i will never be like that. i just don’t have the right nuts and bolts. but i think the key is in the direction…

today i am in seattle. in my head i don’t know where i am. last night we got back about midnight. i literally said, “oh, it’s so good to be back in detroit! i mean seattle! wait, detroit! wait, where are we?”

i don’t know where i am. i am a man without a country. a friend told me that, rather than think of it like that, i should think of it as having two homes, and two places where i have people who love me and where i belong.

right now i am untethered, but i’m trying to go with that. i’m trying to embrace the idea that when you aren’t tied down, it’s easier to soar.

right now, i’m trying to channel the buddhist nun.

and i’m trying to figure out what city i’m in.

and once i have that sorted out, i’ll tell you about the beautiful wedding.