Home. A simple word, yet sometimes very difficult to understand. Having lived in 10 apartments in 3 states in the past decade and still not feeling ready to settle down, I think about the idea of home often but have yet to grasp exactly what it means to me. There are just too many places, physical and emotional, that feel like home or could be home.
Home. Where I was born and lived my young life. Moved out of state when I was 5 and have been there twice in the 23 years since. But I went to school there, had friends, had hobbies. I remember it barely, but always fondly. And I still root for my hometown team.
Home. Where my parents have lived since I was 5. Where I went to kindergarten, elementary school, junior high, and high school with many of the same kids (and went on to college with some of them, too). The neighborhood has changed, the house has been completely refinished and the backyard pool has been traded for grass and landscaping, but it’s still very much the same as I remember. I still have friends here, places to visit and things to see. I even keep doubles of all my toiletries here so I don’t have to pack mini-versions of everything when I fly.
Home. Where my family is from, where I spent many a childhood summers roaming the hot alleys of Taipei (supervised of course). Where I saw my cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Where there are albums and albums of pictures from my parents’ and grandparents’ childhoods.
Home. Wherever I’m living at the moment. NYC was home for a brief period. Davis was home for four years. Miami is now home. It hit me when I returned from visiting with my sister-in-law last month and K was driving me home through the bustle and bright lights of downtown Miami toward our building. It was so familiar, yet so foreign.
I see a lot of people for whom home is one place: one city, one region, one state, one house. Sometimes I get a little jealous that everything that is home to them can be together. Don’t get me wrong, I love exploring new places, finding my own way and having a good excuse to visit California on a regular basis. And I’m not sure that I’m ready to pick one place and settle down yet. I just wonder sometimes what it would feel like to know you’re completely at home.