Holidays have the capability to cross borders. In the case of Christmas 2018, that’s exactly what happened. One of my best friends from home, her husband, and their two daughters made my Christmas all the more special this year. 

         Now thinking back to my “holiday” spent back in my hometown of Baltimore, Md., “restorative,” is the word of the hour. That’s what valuable time spent in Baltimore meant for me this past Christmas. To be back there and to reconnect with family and friends who I known, and who’ve known me, since I was young did more for me than any modern day celebrity sighting up here could do, sorry to admit. It’s always a good thing to go back home. Despite dreading the holiday travel and the company of hoards of other travelers doing the same thing, the result made the other parts worth it.  Sure it’s almost as transformative to reconnect with familiar faces who visit me up here in New York City, as they had done after Christmas, but nothing’s like actually being at home. Familiar roads, landmarks, schools, coffee shops, people. It’s all right there.

         But what’s new, you may ask? The way my friends’ children have grown into themselves is new. The ways of life of my friends who’ve been living in Baltimore while I’ve been up here in New York is also new. Sure, all those things have reinvented the way things are, but I don’t disparage it. It’s natural and it’s time. That’s what time does.

         It’s beautiful.

Similarly, the ages of the small people I’d known as babies, as they are my cousins’ children, have increased too. Now all of my cousins have full grown children who look you in the eye when they speak to you, make jokes you laugh at, tell me names on the sly of people I don’t recognize, and overall just behave adult-like. So yeah, that’s changed too. 

         But what hasn’t changed? The feeling I have once I return back to New York and reflect on what has just been my hometown experience. I’m reinvigorated. Life is back to feeling good. I like where I’m from. I appreciate my roots. Australian Jess of the Brain Resource Center just told me today how her Christmastime was spent in a very similar way as mine. “My mom, me, and a bunch of Australian relatives who I hadn’t seen in, at least, five years all stayed in the same apartment together here in New York. It was restorative.” 

         She was soothed, just like I was. 

         And yeah, I don’t drive and we don’t still have the house I grew up in, but the feeling is still, and will always be, the same. Being with friends from my youth is like nothing else. And to now spend time with their children and their husbands is a joy I have never known. Time carries on whether we like it or not. I’m grateful to be able to see it and to enjoy it with all the people of my past. To spend all afternoon decorating cookies with one of my best friends from high school and her very tall husband, as well as with her two daughters, and by visiting with two other girlfriends who separately run and own popular Baltimore eating establishments of their own, was nothing short sparkling—a brilliant holiday at home. 

Although New York City is capable of imparting a lot of joy on people, it isn’t the only place that does that.