Home
The food touched my soul and made me aware of the music around me. It made me want to dance, so I did, though I thought the soldiers around me would think it was uncharacteristic of someone dressed in business attire at 9PM. I came straight from work, so I could make it to choir rehearsal and church at 7PM. I was hungry, because the cafeteria at work had closed. The cafe owner’s daughter, getting off the school bus one day, intended to run across the street to her mother, but was struck by a speeding driver in view of her classmates and her little brother. The French family was leaving Djibouti for good, and they took their well-known restaurant and our work lunchroom with them. I was early for rehearsal and hungry. I had only eaten an apple, a roll I left in the office fridge last week and a handful of chocolate covered almonds someone brought back from the US. So after the church service, where a lady chaplain delivered a message on how a prophet is generally rejected by his or her own people, I went to the Galley, the Navy dining hall to get something to eat. I felt my singing was pretty decent that night, and I was feeling really good. I was still high on the Arabic exchange I had with my driver on the way to the camp. He complimented my pronunciation and allowed me to practice speaking without judgment. He told me I talked like a news broadcaster. I always feel so strong when I speak my Arabic well and fearlessly. The lunchroom was entirely different experience. They were serving Indian subcontinent food that made me feel like I was in Bangladesh again. I stocked up my plate with fresh porota, fish tikka and vegetable curry and went to eat outside. That’s when my dancing began. It was the dance that reminded me that, just like the man I greeted in Bangla who served me butter pecan ice cream in a styrofoam cup or the Bangladeshi cashier and cook at Pizza Hut who asked me, “kemon achhen” or “how are you?” when I bought some water, I had found a familiar space. I danced because the Indian spices had a taste of home to it. And I realized that home has changed. My home is as big as the world, and I am so happy in it.