I walk in with a smile, knowing that these business owners are busy – the stresses of sick employees, busted faucets, late deliveries – and ask for their time. Tell me about your life, tell me about your place here. I learn: I know the year the big move happened, I know about the father-in-law who said Somerville was a good place to live. I know about the economic realities that framed America as that glowing land of opportunity. I ask about the missing.

I expect for their to be homesickness. I feel it myself, that craving for my California skies, my rolling hills, my parents and dog and local bakery. I miss the smells of Eucalyptus, and the warmth of the sun this time of year; the sensation of motion and slowness you get in California. And I wonder, how much do these people miss their homes, their people.

They don’t have this longing sensation though, not when asked at least. I look around, and see what they have created: a home away from home. I can’t help but think, what a gift to this community – to those who made the trek across the globe to establish a different life, to those who feel that homesickness in their gut. This is not a sterile, generic market. Incense is burning by the Ganesh statuettes.  The familiar packaging of Indian spices, the posters of Krishna line the inside windows. The entrance is plastered with cultural happenings, Hindustani music performances, plays. This is an oasis where a different kind of life, system of belief, concept of color and art and family is preserved.

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These business owners are proud people. They are proud of what they make, what services they provide, and where they came from. They are proud they can be a home away from home, and that they can share their tradition with the Somerville community.