This morning was a Haifa morning.
I stepped outside and the air smelled like (home), like stone paths, the bay, flowers, and a breeze off the mountains and desert that lifts you up…
Warm and cool, the kind of cool that only requires a light sweater. Full of excitement. The gardeners watering plants as I walked up the mountain, past the wall of flowers, the silent woosh of doors as I stepped into the cool stone corridors.
The kind of morning where I would bounce into work, 8:30 am, ready to do what I was meant to do.
It is a little different here, this new home, my new place. My car transports me to work past elegant Victorian homes, antique shops, schools, and the train. The streets are wider, and I can’t see the water from here (but I know it is close). After the last few years of being able to sense the water nearby, it seems odd to ever consider living away from water again. Whether the Mediterranean or Lake Michigan, it seems right to base my orientation on the water.
I wanted to hold onto the feeling of a Haifa morning today, just walk with my eyes closed, pretend that I was still there. Pretend that the stones were digging through the thin soles of my shoes, that my flatmates and I were rushing out of our apartment to get to work (service), that I would walk up a flight of stairs to the lunchroom at 12 pm and the same old crew would be sitting at a big table. That I would take a walk around the Arc with a friend, would stop by the Food Center for an afternoon snack, and walk/slide down the steep slopes at the end of a long day to pray in the Shrine of the Bab before going home. Every late night conversation with my friends, staring out over the lights of a city on the mountain.
This is Chicago, though, I am half a world away and this is life, now. Some things are the same, and I still drink too much caffeine during the day, and I am working in a job that I love. This is my life, now. I don’t write or speak using British English anymore, I’ve reverted back to American. There are no hills or mountains here.
I am holding close the feeling of a Haifa morning, and feel grateful that I remember what it feels like.