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Thursday, February 7, 2019

Bagels and Cream Cheese

As a relative new-comer to the life of living with your heart split between two continents, I find the transitions between those continents somewhat difficult.

There's so much to look forward to when we head to the airport to go "home". And so much to regret that you will miss as you say goodbye to "home". And that happens on both sides of the ocean now. When I leave Slovakia to fly to the US, I'm going home. But when I leave the US to fly to Slovakia, I'm also going home.

As a result, in addition to jet lag, I experience what one might term "emotional lag". Sometimes I don't know what I feel. Sometimes I'm sad. Sometimes I'm happy. I might feel apprehensive. Or giddy.

It's just like when you wake up in the middle of the night because your body says "Good Morning!! Rise and shine!! It's daytime!!" Emotionally, my body must be doing some of that too. "Hey there! You're home!! Wait, no you're not! You just left home!"

You get the picture?

I'm learning to just let myself feel what I feel and not judge whether it's "right". As a "feeler", this can be hard for me. But I'm learning.

Last week, we arrived back in Slovakia. I was feeling feelings. I cried. My husband came home from the store with his best attempt to bring "home" to me in Slovakia: Philadelphia cream cheese.

It was such a sweet gesture. I smiled through my sad feelings. But then I thought, "Cream cheese is no good without bagels." I have yet to find bagels in Slovakia. I admit I haven't tried extremely hard. But I certainly can't just pop over to the local bagel shop and bite in to a freshly baked bagel.

As I muddled through jet lag and emotional lag with a tub (*note a European size tub is significantly smaller than a US tub) of Philadelphia in my fridge, I was inspired to find out just how hard it might be to whip up a batch of homemade bagels.

Sally's Baking Addiction to the rescue! The recipe was quite simple and these babies did not disappoint! Incredible fresh out of the oven. Still pretty tasty a few hours later. I can freeze them and take out a dose of "home" whenever I want. :)

I propose that this was an extremely good antidote to emotional lag. First, it connects you with something from "home". Second, you focus on a task and accomplish something, fostering curiosity and resilience, which is always useful when not feeling great emotionally. Third, you continue to integrate where you are, realizing that home can be in more than one place and doesn't require you to completely disconnect from one while being physically in another.

Home and your experience of it can be something that you create and have at least some control over. How I live and experience my newly-forming identity as part of two continents is something only I can do - the more kind and gracious I am to myself in the process, the better I will likely feel.

Up close view of the freshly baked goodness

So grab a bagel and cream cheese and be curious and kind to yourself as you seek to integrate parts of yourself that might feel very far apart!