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A friend once told me that life only appears linear when we look backwards. My time in the Dominican Republic is coming to an end after six weeks, and can't be described as anything else although the term ghrelin might be a better fit.

Ghrelin is the hunger hormone.

I recently read an interesting article on bird migration, don't ask me how I got there! If Smithsonian says it, I listen... In it biologists mentioned the role of ghrelin in migration. I've always equated migration with the act of seeking a better environment for food and shelter.

What struck me was that when I envision migration I focus on the graceful periods of movement, the flight... but I never thought about the pit stops. Turns out that ghrelin is what pushes us to stop, mid flight. Sometimes in less adequate spaces, to fill up. To satiate the hunger our longer voyage attempts to address.

On my path to remembering who I am as a Taina I have made many stops. Determined to feed the hunger within my soul. Each stop, New York, Washington D.C., Hawaii... the Bronx, has fed me. But nothing has satiated me. I've arrived in each space seeking more, remaining restless. Turns out in birds this restlessness is referred to as zugunruhe.

Since the passing of my grandmother in December I have been in a constant state of zugunruhe. But traveling throughout the Dominican Republic hasn't felt like pit stop. Each sacred site has felt like a homecoming and the idea of leaving a land that holds so much of me within it must be what monarchs feel when they head north to do the work of saving us... just by being themselves.

They must know that if they remain still, in that perfect place, the one they nest in within Michoacán Mexico they'll find joy. But responsibility, and maybe zugunruhe itself demands that they head north again.

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