Getting to Singapore and stumbling across a Chili’s just down the road from the hotel caused way more excitement than it should have. Sipping on a sweet and tangy strawberry lemonade, and waiting for my quesadillas (there was no Enchilada soup, I was devastated), I felt very content.
Thinking on it now, it makes me realise that travelling and living in different places, while amazing, gives you more places to be homesick for. Well, that’s the negative way to put it. I don’t mean homesick as in upset or missing home. I mean Chili’s gave me a feeling of home that made me happy, even though I don’t have Chili’s at ‘home’. It made me think of my Qatar home, even though I was only there two years; and the friends I made there and the feeling of belonging.
I can already see that the travel I do now and in the future will make me more open, more confident and able to embrace so much difference. But by the same token, tiny pieces of my heart will be left connected to each place. Like threads darting across the globe. Some will be stronger than others. Some will grow taut at certain times, dragging me towards them across a steel bar of connection. Others will gently tug at me when I least expect it, cued up by a scent or a phrase that sweeps me into memories of another place.
For example, the smell of jasmine transports me to the bewildering hubbub of a Qatari ‘hen party’, and will never fail to make me smile. From the trip I’m on now it also makes me think of four furry friends I met in New South Wales, and walking by a beautiful lake and seeing flying fish in Elanora, Queensland. Those memories are all triggered by one simple scent, and are now crisscrossed together like the lattice on a trampoline, ready to give me a boost if I need it.
So, I won’t see this as spreading myself thinly, leaving parts of myself across the world. With each of these strands I’m forging connections which will be my support and strength if I do feel truly homesick, or just a bit sad, or even having a pretty good day already!
Who would have thought Chili’s could invoke such deep thought. They should put that in their advertising. And order some damn Enchilada soup.