Commentary by Jane Salemson

Those of you who know me either personally, or from commentaries I have recorded over the years, know that I live with a foot on either side of the Atlantic. It is not an easy way to live, loving both sides, always thinking about what is going on in two similar countries, separated only by the same language and the Atlantic Ocean.

Bonuses of this double life can often be a surprise, and one in particular came during the recent New Year’s weekend. My family, now living in New Jersey, had come down to Chapel Hill for the Christmas holidays, and later in the week we all continued on to Wilmington to be with more family for the New Year’s weekend. On the Friday night we went to a renowned beach restaurant for dinner, which was delicious, as expected. What I did not expect was the emotion I felt when sitting by the window overlooking the beach and ocean. I was overcome by the enormity of the blue sea and stretch of sandy beach on either side of the restaurant pier. It seemed to go on forever, the ocean so enormous.

Close by the pier was an army of pelicans dive bombing into the water to catch fish. There must have been lots of fish in the area, for as well as the pelicans, there were flocks of gulls sitting on the waves and flying around. I had never seen such a sight at such close quarters. We watched the sun set and marveled at the beauty of it all. This experience, and others when I travel to places on the other side of the Atlantic, is when I realize what an amazing place the world is, and how fortunate we are to be part of it.

When living in a place however beautiful, we often get blasé about our surroundings. I have discovered, sometimes quite by accident, while travelling and living in other countries, many special moments in places that I have grown to love. The winter frost on the green fields of England, the cedars on the hills of Tuscany, the acres of tea plantations in Kenya, the list goes on and on. This very special weekend gave me a totally unexpected moment of joie de vivre. I was glad to be back in North Carolina.