Was I moving home?
Or was I leaving my home?
So what exactly is home?
- It is everything and everyone that surrounds you.
- It is everything you drive by on a daily basis.
- It is everywhere you shop.
- It is the school where you drop your kids off every morning.
- It is the teachers you trust with the minds and hearts of your children every weekday.
- It is all the friends that you can count on to help protect your family.
- It is the coffee shop where you always meet people to share your stories.
- It is the restaurant you love to eat at.
- It is the park you love to sit at or the mountain you love to hike or the route you love to jog… and so on and so on.
- It is the people that take you under their wing immediately that you can call when you are lost.
- It is the Facebook groups you can ask where to find whatever it is you are looking for.
- It is the community members who take on the challenge of making homemade goods and selling them because you can’t find them easily at the local stores.
- It is the parents and teachers who volunteer to coach every sport, substitute teach, chaperone culture trips, lead Chapel, and so much more.
- It is the abundance of people who choose to accept everyone around them instead of looking for inadequacies because we know we need each other.
- It is taking a challenging and scary situation and instead of calling it what it is, everyone reassures you that it is just an adventure.
- It is the confidence you gain when you accomplish a task in a foreign language.
- It is the thrill of exploring land or even countries that would have terrified you in the past.
- It is the remarkable ability of placing complete trust in tour guides or local people to take you out into the middle of the ocean, or the jungle, or in sidecar rides down the busiest streets in town.
- It is gaining a true understanding of WHY another culture acts, reacts, believes or denies WITHOUT discrediting them or immediately telling them they are wrong.
- It is putting complete trust in God that no matter how difficult things may seem, no matter how often you have to play charades to communicate, no matter how much you think you can’t live without real bacon, Reece’s Peanut Butter cups and Dee Dish Pizza, no matter how many stores, markets and fruit stands you have to shop each week for your weekly groceries, no matter how long or short you have lived there or how many hard goodbyes you have had to say, it still becomes your HOME.
It is not a simple noun. Home is the most complex word that encompasses the entire life of any individual. Now, when people ask where I AM FROM-that is different. Sometimes I’m from a small farm town, sometimes from Chicago, sometimes a suburb of Chicago, sometimes I’m just from America and sometimes I’m from Taiwan. I may always give a different answer here and hopefully I even add more replies as my life continues. But one thing I have definitely learned through this process is that where you are “from” is not the same as where your “home” is. Home is not a single place.
Home is your life story. I am not moving back home and I am not moving away from my home. I am simply adding to my home. The experiences I have had, the memories that are ingrained in my mind, all of the people who have infiltrated my heart and embraced me and my family at the different stages of my life are all home. And those things will never be taken from me. Each place I have called “home” brings me comfort in many different ways. Memories resurface and familiar faces fill my mind. Life will continue to evolve and people will come and go, but I will always be home no matter where I end up. My only wish moving forward is that I never settle in one place. I pray to God each day that he just keeps adding to my home and that I never forget those that have helped make each physical place I have lived a part of MY HOME.
As an ATCK, I think I identify with this more now than when I was growing up. My family doesn’t list in my host country anymore and I’m looking at living somewhere outside my passport country so home is continually changing for me.