These fertile fields and gentle rolling hills are my home. I feel it. I was raised here. I feel most comfortable in this overlooked land of lakes and country roads. New York State is mostly backcountry, it is difficult to explain this to people while travelling.
“Oh, you’re from New York,” they say, “big city.”
“No, I am from the countryside, I have never really been to New York City for very long. There is nothing but farms all around my family’s house.”
‘Do you live in Manhattan?”
I do not seem to be believed when I try to explain that New York is 90% rural.
But I think that I like the confusing cover that this provides. I like contrasting identities.
I find that I am only home with my family for a couple of weeks a year. It is difficult to function as a real part of a family when you are only there for brief periods here and there. So it happens that when I am with my family there is usually a big adjustment period, then, when everything begins to go smoothly, I leave. It is almost as if I have forged my relation with my family through emails and brief overseas telephone calls. When I am with them it almost seems as if we do not know what to do with each other. But it is enjoyable, and I cherish the short amounts of time that I have with my family. My only regret is that I am not with them more. This is one of the reasons that I began keeping this travelogue: so my family can always read about what I am doing, how I am feeling, so that we can continue building a relationship from opposite sides of the globe.
I am now getting ready to go to North Africa. I should be flying into Casablanca, Morocco next week. I am trying to get a job with an English language paper out of Tangier called Morocco Today, and also with the US based magazine, Café Abroad. I am also searching for a cheaply priced language school where I can begin studying Arabic and French. I have no previous backing in either, so it is about time that I begin studying them. Then I will be able to have rudimentary conversations in Spanish, Chinese, French, and Arabic. At this point, I will at least be able to find out the names of a good portion of the people on the planet, talk about the weather, and how to get to where I wish to go in most places in the world. To fill my rucksack with a basic knowledge of these four languages, plus my native English, will equip me with enough linguistic skill to be laughed at in every corner of the planet.