Sunday, January 08, 2012

Back to the NL, and soap...

Happy New Years - I'm back to NL after a too-short visit back to the US. Strangely, seems like forever that I was back in the US, but also seems too short. It's a very strange feeling to have multiple homes.

I had this realization today after arriving at the airport that Amsterdam is feeling very familiar. It's so strange to go on a long flight, wake up in a new place, which seems strange and familiar at the same time. Especially when 3 places seem "home" to me - whether it's in Ohio where I grew up, in MN where I've been living, or NL where I've been working.

This particularly makes things complicated when people ask me now, "Where do you live?" or "Where are you from?". It usually goes something like "Well, I'm living in the NL now, but my actual home is in Minnesota, where I work, but I'm from Ohio". By then, most people have a really confused look on their face. Guess there's no simple answer for that question. I'm sure lots of international students in the US or even college students who study in a different state probably have similar identity crises, or even Americans posted overseas too. I wonder how long does it take for somebody to change their answer from where they grew up as a child as "Home" to where they're living as "home. Maybe it takes life-events like the birth of a child, or marriage, or just many years before people identify a new place as "home".

And in a random comment - I was thinking how some things I do in my house are still very "American". For example, bath soap. It's much more common in Europe to use bath gel instead of soap bars. However, I still prefer the soap bar. But - since soap bars aren't common here, it's difficult to find things like soap dishes! I had to import that one from the US.

Then - I was thinking - with the water being quite hard here (lots of calcium), soap bars don't lather up very well. Maybe that's why bath gel is more common? Would be interesting if that was a local adaptation to the water conditions here.

Any thoughts on soap from my readers? And welcome any comments on the thoughts about what defines "home"?