Planet Online 

by Adam Coward

Stranded in Missouri, historian Adam Coward contrasts political culture in the US and Wales, finding more to be hopeful of on the Welsh side of the ocean as the Presidential and Assembly election campaigns get underway.

A garden in New York state © Dafydd Prys

A garden in New York state © Dafydd Prys

Coming from the title of Thomas Wolfe’s 1940 novel set in America and Europe during the Great Depression, the phrase ‘you can’t go home again’ has become an American colloquialism, but for all its overuse it contains a certain truth: once you step outside of yourself and your narrow experience, your old self can never encapsulate who you have become. I have spent most of my adult life living in Wales, but recently, owing to the expiration of a work contract and visa, I returned to the United States. I never expected that the transition back into American life would be smooth, given my hiraeth for the ‘green green grass of home’. But as much as I have changed, the country I left behind is not the land I find now. Attempting to negotiate my experiences as a stranger in a no-longer-familiar land through my Welsh experience has been unsettling and complex.

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