I have been back here in California for almost 2 months now. For almost two months I have been basking in the beautiful California sun, eating French fries, sushi, tacos, shrimp, chocolate chip cookies and even cereal. Drinking oversized mugs of coffee with cream, and of course indulging in everything PUMPKIN! Pumpkin beer, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin bread and pumpkin pie. California’s attempt at Fall is a heavy dose of taste bud nostalgia. We can’t produce the season, but we sure can produce the taste of the season!!
I have spent my days hiking, going to dog parks, visiting friends, and catching up on American Culture, i.e. watching TV. And most importantly I have been researching, and applying for jobs. JOBS JOBS JOBS. I had no idea what I was in for coming back to this job market!!
As I find a way to fit back into my old culture, learning to give people personal space, say hello to strangers and make small talk, I find a strange feeling inside me that is hard to place and even more difficult to understand. This morning as I poured myself a heaping portion of coffee, I found myself wishing for my jazzve and tiny little Armenian bajak filled with a tiny portion of strong Armenian coffee, grinds and all. How is it that this feeling is so difficult to distinguish back here, when for 29 months I felt that exact same bellyache very acutely in Armenia?
Dare I say it? I am in fact feeling a little homesick. Never once while I was living in Armenia did I consider Spitak my home. It wasn’t the place where I had grown up, it wasn’t the place where my family lives nor was it even a place where I fit in. It was simply a little community that I loved and hated in equal measure. Most of my mornings I awoke not to my alarm, but to a power outage that left me heater less in a freezing cold bedroom. I would wrap my sleeping bag around me, trying to keep any of the remaining heat insulated and make a dash for my freezing cold kitchen to put on a small pot of water with a table spoon of coffee. The whole time degrading stupid Armenian coffee and wishing for a French press, grinder and “normal” coffee beans… As I sipped the bitter, overly sweetened coffee I thought of how much I took things for granted back home. I thought to myself, when I am back home I will cherish everything. And those were the mornings that I had running water!
It’s amazing how much a cup of coffee has come to mean to me. The way it is prepared, the way it tastes and even the cup that it is served in, signify so much. As I sit here and sip on my watered down, automatic fresh from a coffee pot java, I can’t help but to think back on the past two years of my life. I can’t fight the nostalgia that spreads over me; the desire to return that is creeping its way into my heart and taking root. I am not saying that I don’t cherish the bold Latin American infused coffee that is currently sitting in my mug. The fact is I have developed a stronger, more discerning taste for it. However, as much as I appreciate it, every time I take a sip I am jolted out of my surroundings, and my mind drifts back to this home that I used to know and I can’t help but to wish for a trade. This faraway place that more and more is beginning to seem like a dream that I once had long ago. A place where life was at the same time more difficult and simpler. And I miss it. For all the good and the bad, the tears and the laughter I simply miss my other home or my other cup of coffee if you’d have it.