living overseas for close to 10 years, you grow to understand what feeling like a stranger truly feels like. as comfortable as you are in your new country, you can never be "local" and the oddest feeling of all is going back home and feeling like a stranger there too. you see, you have been away long enough to fall out of sync with the rhythms of your home, the pace of your neighborhood, and the growth of your city. you realize (all too clearly at times) how life simply progresses. it's natural. but it's such an odd feeling to experience.
i ran while i was home and nostalgia and some ray charles were my co-pilot as i navigated through new subdivisions and passed by homes that were not yet built when i was last there. quite quickly, i was reintroduced to the hilly terrain that makes up the familiar streets on my route. rather than the perfume of jasmine lining my way, i was awakened by pine, honeysuckle, and others that scented the path. and their frangrance would conjure up the deepest of memory, surprising my train of thought as i ran up yet another hill.
then of course, there is catching up with dear family and friends. the strangest of moments now as we gather and reconnect, is being surrounded by all of our children. when did that happen, you wonder?! of course you know of their children, but being together in-person, you are catapulted back in time, and seeing smaller versions of yourself and your friends milling around is a bit of a mind-bender.
all and all...you remember that while it's true that you can never quite go home again, there is that bit of home that always stays with you.