"It's like when I first arrived in Uganda, I told myself, 'This is not my home yet, but it will be someday.'"
~Rachel, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer
I had my friend Rachel visit me over the weekend. She is my best friend during my time in the Peace Corps, and planned to stop in Baltimore over the weekend before driving to Washington D.C. I showed her MICA, Graffiti Alley, and Falls Road before heading back to the house to hang out with friends.
After she left, I also had to go hang out with my mom and some of my uncles and aunts. It felt really bittersweet to share a last dinner with them, knowing full well that I would most likely never go to their house again. Our lives became too different, and now that my mom is moving to San Diego, I won't have as much reason to go back and see my aunts and uncles. At some point after the dinner, I made my way to D.C. to the Smithsonian American Art Museum to see the Indie Arcade exhibit.
At the exhibit, I saw a multitude of video games and arcade machines from the past twenty years. I watched little kids playing Mario Kart 64, Star Fox, Kirby, Duck Hunt, Crazy Taxi, Primal Rage, X-Men, and Zombies Ate My Neighbors on a variety of consoles. Funnily enough, this jogged back nostalgia and memories of my childhood back in my old house in Owings Mills when I would wake up late on a Saturday morning and play video games all day as my mom would cook Filipino meals.
As I helped my mom pack her boxes for the storage unit, I unearthed the box filled with my old NES, SNES, N64, Gamecube, and Wii. As I picked up the controllers and games, I had flashbacks to playing Super Mario 64 at my neighbor’s house. I thought back to the days spent solving mysteries with my brother to get all 48 treasures in the Great Cave Offensive. I remembered playing hide-and-seek with my neighbors until nighttime when I could switch to saving Hyrule and wielding the powers of time, seasons, and masks.
Right now, I am filled with nostalgia for my past experiences. I am remembering the golden-tinged memories of the good old days, when I felt safe, warm, and comfortable. Back then, I could honestly tell someone that my home was at the end of the cul-de-sac in a small neighborhood in Owings Mills. Now, I still have some trouble remembering my address in Remington. I am feeling more at home now, but am still struggling with all of the feelings, memories, and new emotions that I have not felt in a long time.
But one day, I will feel at home again.
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