Ten years ago, on New Year’s Eve I found myself in Paris along with a friend. We didn’t have any set plans for the night and needless to say, we were short on cash at the end of a long trip for him and a semester abroad for me. So, we figured we’d grab a bottle of champagne and make the most of it by ringing in 2008 by the Eiffel Tower with the rest of the Parisian crowds.
Well, we showed up and the crowds were maddening. We were struggling to find a place to settle into when all of a sudden, I hear the chorus to Cielito Lindo.
“You hear that?” I ask. “It’s Cielito Lindo, let’s go!”
Like a beacon of hope from the Motherland we followed it, weaving through the crowds until finally we found the source: a large group of Mexicans had gathered in a circle, singing along to the famous song.
We sang along and for a moment, in that crowded park under the twinkling Eiffel Tower lights, it felt like I was both home and thousands of miles away.
After being away for 5 months, it became clear in that instant that home isn’t a place you travel back to. It’s a place you can return to, inside of you. It never really leaves you.
If ever you find yourself unable to go home, I hope you’re lucky enough to know that sometimes something as simple as a feeling or a song can transport you back.