Anyone who has lived anywhere can perhaps relate to this notion of "a sense of place" that the German filmmaker Wim Wenders discussed in this talk he gave at Princeton University. For me, two areas evoke a strong sense of place: the Houston suburb where I spent most of my childhood, and some places in Holland, where I spent many vacations visiting my grandparents and other relatives.
I don't know what kind of movie Wim Wenders might make about the modest little town in Holland where I was born, or what he might think of the neighborhood in Houston where I spent my childhood — although I plan to watch his movie Paris, Texas soon to see how he portrays the nearby town of Port Arthur. Of course, based on his talk at Princeton, he wouldn't look at those places as parts of the story of my life, the way I do. He might look at me as part of their stories.
But from my perspective, the places where I grew up are so deeply rooted in my mind that sometimes, when I think about them, I can actually feel for a moment like I am there, even when I am 5,000 miles away.
My favorite Dutch beach:
One of the more beautiful areas in my Dutch hometown:
The street outside my grandmother's apartment: