So here I am wandering around Old Town, even took the bus. Everything is familiar, routine, after all I've only been gone a little more than a year. Somewhere along the line I've acquired the ability to quickly acclimate to a new place and retain that sense of "this is my place" when I return.
I haven't always been like this. For all too many years I resisted change; change paralyzed me. For the past 20 years change has been the dominant theme of my life. It's not that change doesn't bother me anymore but rather that it has become a way of life. I actually plan big changes now - next Spring I want to be living somewhere else, where I'm not sure yet and there is the possibility that it will only be the next stop on to yet another place. It doesn't scare me or stress me.
What surprises me about me is that I learned to adapt to new places. They quickly became "my places" regardless of whether I liked them or not. Because I walk or take public transit I learn where all the "native" haunts are. Because I tend to talk to everyone and anyone I establish a superficial social presence. I become comfortable quickly. When I realize I have made these accommodations I am always surprised. The person who does this is not the person I think I am. I'm not sure I really know who she is.
When I return to visit places I have lived I fall back into whatever routine or persona I had there. If I stay for a few days I forget I am just visiting and I take on the routine of a resident.
I am sure that most people act and react this same way. I have met and admired these people but I don't ever think of myself as being one of them. My actions and reactions surprise me. It's a pleasant surprise but a surprise nonetheless.