As I leave the drug store I notice a young Japanese woman trying to leave from the wrong sliding doors. She looks overwhelmed and embarrassed. I smile and point her to the right doors. Outside she looks around bewildered. Before I can cross the street she asks me in careful broken English where she can find the sky train. I point across the street. We smile. She bows. I bow. I walk to my bus smiling - I know the feeling.
When you are in a strange city where you don't speak the language, everything is terrifying. When I lived in Berlin every day tasks felt overwhelming and impossible. Buying a ticket for the subway, sending a package, ordering a coffee. I once dragged my feverish body to a dentist's office thinking it was a doctor.
I can't describe how comforting it is to be back in my own city. For the past few weeks I've been house sitting on the North Shore, where I grew up.
As I walk the dog I turn back and look at the ocean, freighters stretched out in pools of sun; the landscape of my childhood. My eyes tear up. I feel human again. I give a shit. About myself, about other people, about my future. I know the kind of memories I want to make and those I need to stop repeating.
This ebb and flow of life will never stop fascinating me. I am grateful for having been lost, to understand what it feels like to be in the dark, and to climb out of it.
I am human again. Heart beating, mind racing with new ideas, aware of the bright horizon ahead.