My 9-year-old daughter just entered a drawing contest. The theme is, “my favorite place in the world.”
While she was thinking which place to draw, my mind started pondering where in this world have I felt like saying that same statement. My mind was struggling to decide what would I draw, and then I realized that my daughter was already drawing.
When I asked her which place was she drawing, she said without any hesitation, “the North Pole.” I saw the spark in her eyes when she was enthusiastically sketching what she hoped would be the winning design, totally oblivious to the fact that she may never visit the North Pole. Who knows? But I was impressed on how much information she had about the North Pole.
In a way, though, I felt somewhat disappointed of her choice after all the interesting places she has had the opportunity to visit in her short 9 years, and here she was drawing a beautiful depiction of a place she’s never been.
Without intending to, the thought of a favorite place lingered in my head, and I fell into a mixture of thoughts and nostalgia.
I pictured myself visiting all the beautiful places that, thanks to the Air Force, we have visited:
- Washington D.C.
- New Jersey
- Rio de Janeiro in Brazil
- Abu Dhabi and Dubai in the UAE
- and currently Buenos Aires, Argentina
Lots of images appeared in my thoughts like a slideshow of photos. Each place brought different feelings and emotions. I did get excited with the series of pictures and collages that my mind put together for me. Yet I found myself going from one memory to the other, looking for that favorite place feeling. If I had to put such a big effort in assigning the “favorite place” award to a location, then maybe that was not the one after all.
I am very thankful that I have been able to travel. Even before joining this military life, my destiny was somehow opened to exciting traveling opportunities. But from all those places, I had the feeling that my favorite one was pulling me back towards a familiar place.
When the mental slide show of pictures finished, I was instantly transported to a special place: the beach where I used to go every summer when I was a little girl. That same place where my Dad built his dream beach house; the same beach that saw me grow up, fall in love and become a mom. I can close my eyes, feel the breeze, and the smell of the ocean, and the memories of beautiful sunsets still take my breath away. That beach where I long to return is the one that I can definitely call my favorite place in the world, my North Pole.
*And in case someone is wondering, this special place is located in Punta Carnero, Ecuador.