Nostalgia is a funny feeling. Anything really can trigger it, that flood of memories surging in, of a particular place, event, person. Like the taste of warm, but not melty, cheese on toasted bread and drippy white peaches sending me back to hot summer days in Bensheim, Germany, of the brown bag lunches my host mother would send me off to school with. Wonderfully fond memories.
What surprised me recently, though, is that I can feel nostalgic about a place I haven’t left yet, and more, about a place I don’t always think kindly of.
By the second month of living in Corpus Christi, its novelty outgrew the wondrous-endearing stage and began a downhill turn. Little irritants became exasperating, and our usual rosy morale took blow after blow. But when the stay became finite, a meek voice whispered inside my head. That tide of backward nostalgia was calmly rolling in, triggered by simple events.
A drive across the sparkling Intercoastal and Oso Bay, hoping to glimpse a spoonbill. An evening on the patio with our neighbor kitty as the sun sets ablaze behind swaying prairie grasses. The motions of hand-making corn tortillas, now second nature. An orange and white military trainer plane making its way back to base. A sunrise walk on the beach, our beach — the beach he proposed on.
Where did I get this pair of rose colored glasses? I’m not sure I can pull this look off…
In the grand scheme of things, two years is a drop in the bucket. I might think back some day and turn to Dan: “Remember living in Corpus? Those two years went so fast. Too fast.” Or maybe not — either way, that conversation is a long way off.
Though we are more than ready to put the Corpus chapters behind us and turn the page to coastal North Carolina, our departure, it would seem, will be bittersweet. No one is more surprised than me.