Today I took a photograph of my Kindle next to a cup of coffee at the Graph Café in Thailand. Immediately after doing so I was reminded of a similar photograph I took in Japan. I was at the Starbucks in Matsue city, only weeks after I moved to Japan. Toni Morrison was my refuge from culture shock and from homesickness. I could lose myself in her words enough to forget that I was supposed to be speaking Japanese. I didn’t live in Matsue, though I would have preferred that. I was only there for a two-week training before my real job was to begin. Each day after training I would walk 2km to the station, which housed the only Starbucks in the City, and I would sip green tea brownie Frappuccino with Toni Morrison and laugh and cry with her characters in Beloved.
This past year I found myself again drawn to her words in Song of Solomon, only this time they found me in Thailand. I wasn’t living in Chiang Mai then either, merely stopping over for one month, on what might also be considered a six-month training before my real job was to begin. Wherever I go my habits follow.