Today is sad — I left my mountains. Now I look forward to tomorrow. To twenty seventeen. A new year, a new adventure.

We spent the last two weeks of 2016 in quaint stone villages dotted through mountain crevices, creeping up the sloped lands. I went to familiar places to meet familiar faces…faces happy to see me, welcoming me home warmly. Over the years, after long days of work, I spent many evenings getting to know pretty much everybody. And then suddenly I would leave, for three and a half years. The privilege of coming from different parts of the world, and expanding my world and my community, doesn’t always feel like a privilege. Sometimes it’s hard; being away from places I am rooted in and apart from people I love can hurt. No matter where I live, I will have to deal with this.

I am addicted to these mountains. Each time I walk away from the village and up the foot of the mountain, I am reminded how little I am. How big and powerful this earth is, and what beauty looks like.

In the mornings we went to the bakery to get fresh bread, at lunch picnics in forests — bread and cheese. Our time filled with birthdays and Christmas celebrations. With traditional foods from the Alps and 15 year old wines that lay beneath the mountain earth, in caves I would sneak into when I was five, collecting thick coats of dust. The smells of earth and cows as I walked the streets every morning brought a sense of being settled inside. I am happy here. And I hate leaving these majestic mountains that I belong to, every time.