first time returning to dallas.

I returned “home” this past weekend. I say that with quotations because it feels uncomfortable calling it home. I look around and see Dallas and feel that familiar tinge that makes me think of “home” but at the same time feel like an outsider. Everything is familiar: the wide skyline with the reunion tower and triangle building, the flat topography that’s both suffocating and comforting, the bridge that tries so hard to make downtown and south Dallas “happening”, the many gentrified neighborhoods that everyone complains about but also love because that means there are more places to hit. While there are minor changes, everything felt so familiar.

It’s jarring. All my old emotions came back. I felt safe because I know these neighborhoods and have a hard time getting lost. I felt happy because two of my best friends live 5-10 minutes away from my old neighborhood. I felt confident because old landmarks that helped me navigate are still there as my beacon. Why did I move again? My life was so comfortable and secure. I had a tinge of sadness loom over before my heart texted my brain in rescue.

“Tania, do you remember how lonely it was to be physically closer to family but mentally separated? To live alone half the time because Chris’s job took him away? To only have 2 hours in the morning for active things before you’re stuck inside from the heat and humidity? To have one way of getting anywhere, driving? To get looks from Asians and white people alike because of your relationship? To work in a non challenging field because good paying jobs were scarce in the city?”

When I’m in the bay, I long for my friends. When I’m in Dallas, I long for home. I wonder how long until one place becomes my everything. Or maybe that never happens.

I moved from Indonesia when I was 8. While I remember my life in Jakarta, I never felt the same level of comfort. I’ve returned and remember little areas as if I dreamt it, but there’s no real pull. I lived in Dallas for 21 years – all over the metroplex. Do people just slowly forget and move on?

Sincerely, Tania