Running one evening in Kansas, I came upon a family having their picture taken among the grasses and waving rods of the prairie preserve. They had turned away and were walking toward the sky.
All I could see was the cowboy hat; the gait of a native ushering his family toward a horizon of better light. There was no resisting the temptation to pull my camera from my tiny pocket and snap away. But when I had finished relishing the moment, as I stood staring after them with a heart billowing in love for my native people and land, I felt pulled to glance to my left where his family stood watching, unbeknownst to me!
My mind panicked. Perhaps they were offended that I'd taken his picture without asking!
Without warning, Allison of Europe rose to the surface. Allison who greets people in French every day. The Allison I had been trying so hard to suppress!
"Bonjour! Je voulais juste prendre une photo de son chapeau !"
I could literally feel the shock run through my body. What are you doing? Speak English! And then... in my very best French accent (still unclear as to why I did this) I blurted out,
"I zust vant to take picture of American het!"
My gosh. Is it possible I just did that? Why, why, why?
The people smiled at my quaint foreignness while I nearly fainted in horror. And as my feet ran the rest of the path, I realized without a doubt that I am a foreigner wherever I go. Home is not here, and home is not there. Divine joke? I suppose it's time to embrace myself.