Being back in Warsaw, which was my home for over a year, is just… surreal. It just feels strange being here…. wonderful, but strange…
Many have said that when you travel you learn a lot about yourself, and that couldn’t be any more true. I realize, only now, that even when I travel somewhere I consider home I feel like I should not consider myself on vacation but I should be off doing something productive. This morning when I woke up and realized that I was in Warsaw, I felt like I shouldn’t be on vacation. I feel that I should be running to be with a student or to teach a class or something like that, which was generally my life when I lived here last year. I cannot help but feel like teaching is what I should be doing since I am here in Warsaw. It’s actually a nagging feeling inside. It’s the same that when I’m in my hometown, San Francisco, I can’t be home for more than a few days without thinking I need to be working or doing something productive. I don’t really consider myself that much of a workaholic. I know people who make zero time for friends and family; they are always in the office or otherwise occupied in the pursuit of making money. But I’m not like that. I always make time for doing what I want to do or to spend time with people I find important in my life. Yet and still I feel like being idle is a bad thing when I could be doing so much work here and did for over a year.
I just realized last night that this is the first time in my life I ever returned to a city (not counting my hometown) where I spent at least a good year of my life working, building structure, and a community. Ever since leaving, I have not yet been back to New York, Istanbul, Izmir, or Salerno, where I lived and worked before now, but I have a feeling if I did, my heart will pull me back to the same type of routine I had before. I guess I must be happy working? I guess I am blessed to work in education where going to work to me is a joy, a privilege, though challenging as well.
The bug to work is so bad I’ve even contacted some of my old students here and arranged meetings (unpaid, of course) with them where I can check in on them to see how their English is progressing… today I’m meeting one former student at his office for a half an hour chat, meeting one tonight as well… just for a catch up chat, and will be meeting others too. Am I obsessed with my old life?
My year in Poland was definitely one of if not the best of my life, and I guess maybe psychologists would say I’m just feeling nostalgia and yearning for this year and time back, and now that I’m here again I feel like I should be doing the same things now as I did then. I probably will feel the same way every time I visit Croatia, after I leave, or Izmir or Istanbul too. I feel like I’ve come back home after a long extended vacation and my working schedule should continue as normal…. Crazy. I need to snap myself out of this and just enjoy myself and have a good time on vacation but I don’t know if I actually can.
Does anyone feel the same? If anyone has ever visited a place again after they lived many years there, how was it? How did you feel? Did you feel you should have the same or a similar routine again that you did when you were there? Did it simply feel weird, strange, or surreal to you? What changed? What stayed the same?
I’ve decided I want to live in Poland again, at least for half a year at a time. I am just so in love with Warsaw. The city is really amazing. One day, one day…. somehow I will.
More to come.