A long time ago, I lived abroad in Spain. It was a fabulous time of growth for me as I learned to see the world with new lens. I got to eat new foods and drink great wine and walk the city streets of a city that didn’t start partying until midnight. Barcelona would be a great city for Gremlins. But that story is for another time. While I loved living in Barcelona I did miss my beloved New York City. How could I not? But I liked that I was able to miss it. Absence most definitely can make the heart grow fonder. It sounds trite. But there is truth in triteness. So it is.
One thing that would delight us to no end, besides the endless requests by Spaniards for jeans and Oreo cookies, was seeing our American flag. Whether it was on a backpack, jacket or other bit, we would look at it fondly and reminisce of our homes. You would always have that moment of awe and nostalgia. And I think that is the beauty of a flag. For many, a flag can signal a goal to strive for or a place to head back to. It can signal freedom to some. Of course, not all flags represent great ideals as some might signal oppression as well. I am not naive to that. But just for here and for a minute, I want to think back to that time I had such nostalgia and longing for a flag. It meant that I was out in the world on my own finding my way back home.