THE SOUND OF HOME was one of the first texts I wrote after switching from German to English as my creative language about a year ago, and when it was published last week, I hadn’t read it in quite a while. So rereading it now with all the time that has passed since was kind of a weird experience.
I remember polishing it at a writers’ workshop last April, right before traveling to Germany—and how I couldn’t wait for the day of my flight. Almost a year later, I will again be on a flight to Germany in April, and I am very much looking forward to that trip too. However, my general mindset is totally different—because by now, I consider Seattle much more a home than I did last spring when everything still felt so new.
I have called quite a few places home over the years. As of now, Seattle is just one of them. I have built a home, but my emotional attachment to the city is still not particularly strong. If the man of my heart and I had to leave tomorrow for some reason, it wouldn’t break my heart—as moving away from Frankfurt surely did.
Frankfurt occupies a special place among all the places I’ve ever called home for a couple of reasons on top of having been the most recent one: I settled there because I wanted to, without a man or a job initiating the move. Plus, I lived there for a long time and during a very crucial period of my life, and lots of my dearest friends are still there.
Truth be told, rereading THE SOUND OF HOME now makes me pretty homesick for Frankfurt. When I close my eyes, I can still hear the sound I associate with the city—rolling suitcases on cobblestone—as if I were there.
I have long passed the point where this sound could leave me in tears, but it remains a painful reminder of what I have left behind: a handful of very close friends I can share anything with, a huge number of friends to hang out with, and a large network of contacts in about any area needed in life. I realize that it took a long time to build these connections in Frankfurt, so I am not surprised I haven’t got that far in Seattle yet. But it sucks anyway.
Still, Seattle has become home for me—and just like I associate Frankfurt with a certain sound, I associate Seattle with the particular brightness and salty smell you only find when you live by the water. I am pretty sure that I’ll complain about the stuffy air in Frankfurt when I am there. But I guess that’s simply the price you pay for being at home in more than one place.