Maybe. Maybe not. But I think we all have some genetic programming that allows us to access our ancestors, allows us to respond to places and people and things that remind us, whether or not we understand how it happens, of our parents' or grandparents' or great-great-great-great-grandparents' lives.
I grew up in Vancouver. My mother and her family moved here from a small town just outside London after World War II. My dad is seventh generation Canadian (highly unusual) and his family left France for Ireland, lived there a few generations, and then for Canada.
When I first went to France I had no idea that my dad's family had originated there but I felt at home immediately, even though I speak only high school French. I've been in dozens of small towns in France and every one of them felt like home to me. And Paris feels like my home away from home. Odd, huh? Of course it is, but it isn't unusual.
Small towns in England and Ireland feel comfortable to me. I can walk into a town in either of those countries and feel as if I belong there. That's not happened to me anywhere else - not in Holland or Italy, not in Canada or the U.S. In those countries, I'm attracted to cities, that's where I feel comfortable.
Now, that's about places, but I've also had the same experience with people. Many of my best friends are Irish - once again, acquired before I knew that my father's family arrived here by way of Ireland.
What's weird about all of this - especially about the small town thing - is that I'm a city girl. I've lived in big cities all my life and the last thing I want is to live in a small town. But those small towns, in France and Ireland and England, they tempt me - it's genetic, it's a sense from my past lives that comes to the forefront when I arrive there. I believe that.