Places I love come back to me like music,
Hush me and heal me when I am very tired;
I see the oak woods at Saxton’s flaming
In a flare of crimson by the frost newly fired;
And I am thirsty for the spring in the valley
As for a kiss ungiven and long desired.~Sara Teasdale, Collected Poems
You might say we’re restless. We’ve lived in cities, the suburbs, and in the country up and down the East Coast of the United States and in the Midwest. Every place has its magic and charms, but I’m always eager to move on and explore new places and make new friends.
Moving to a new place is like peeling an onion. Each new layer is revealed in time. I was acutely aware of that when we spent a summer in Amsterdam, living just outside the center of town. We had exchanged homes with a Dutch professor, his wife, and young son, who were eager to explore New England. While they enjoyed living in our condo and swimming in Lake Winnipesaukee, we were riding their bikes in Amsterdam, watching their neighbor’s cat while she was away on a business trip, shopping for groceries in their markets, eating pannekoeken (Dutch apple pancakes), and spending evenings at the pub at the end of their street. It was a fascinating experience to dig deeper into the Dutch culture and learn more about its people.
A number of places have captivated my imagination and call me back with tantalizing memories of family and friends, and promises of new discoveries, inspiring sights, and delicious food. Are you ready? Here are a few of my favorites.
New York City
I loved that place as if it was a part of me, and perhaps, in some ways, it was.
― Neil Gaiman,
An artist has no home in Europe except in Paris.” -Friedrich Nietzsche
All I want is a room somewhere, far away from the cold night air, with one enormous chair …- My Fair Lady (lyrics)
Italy will never be a normal country. Because Italy is Italy. If we were a normal country, we wouldn’t have Rome. We wouldn’t have Florence. We wouldn’t have the marvel that is Venice. -Matteo Renzi, Prime Minister of Italy
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The waterways are charged with magic, but nothing about them is more magical than the difference made by the few feet of water which separate the boat from the land. Those few feet instantly set the boatman in a world of his own, and his vision of the outer world though which he glides, becomes magically calmer and clearer. Again, this may sound whimsical and improbable: the degree to which it is true can be confirmed only by experience. ~Robert Aickman
I can’t wait until we revisit these places, which charm and delight me and make me feel instantly at home. I am also eager to travel abroad and “peel back” new layers of the culture, language, and history in these “old” favorites and discover new ones. What places are your favorites? What places inspire and delight you?
For those of you who’d like to try pannekoeken, here’s a recipe. It’s easy and delicious.
And have a great week at home or abroad, everyone!