I swear I envy those (especially those my age) who get to be in one city this week, and in another the next week. The traveller in me would not let go of this jealousy. I daydream about living a nomadic life, constantly on the move. Airport-hopping from Barcelona to Beirut.
But that was my life. I am part of that group of children who followed their parents to live and work abroad. Call us whatever you like: third culture kids, diplo-brats, nomads…the label doesn’t matter. What matters is amongst us, we understand the recurring itch to leave, move, change. We understand the seemingly random attachments to cities, countries, towns, even airlines. Between us, we understand the search for identity and loyalty, and for a place to call home.
Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely grateful for the experiences. But don’t be confused if I happen to love your country as much as I do mine. Heck, I wish the world were without borders, without segregation of nationalities and race because I just want to feel like I belong.
It becomes tiring trying to play catch up all the time because there is no point. I’ll leave and all—down to slang words—will change.So how can I call a place home when it is so unfamiliar? How can you call a place home when you feel so uncomfortable?
Then I realized that I envy those who have lived in one country their whole lives, too. Those whose allegiance and love towards a place and a nation is justified not simply by passport or heritage, but also by their own journeys intertwining with that of said place and nation.
My journey intertwined with the soils, water and souls of eight countries. So home for me is where I grew up, spent my childhood and learned; among others in the humidity of Jakarta, the crowded Ho Chi Minh city, the crisp winter cold of Tehran, the dusty winds of Sana’a, the heat of an Uzbek summer, and the freezing temperatures of Canada. Home for me is also where life is most familiar; where I am happy, where I feel most accepted and most comfortable, and where I feel I most belong. Today, that home is Fredericton, New Brunswick.
And if settling down were just a matter of MY decision, I would pick this place to call home. I don’t care if people ask why I chose to live in “the middle of nowhere” province or “so far” or in “such a small city.” I’m content and happy.
I just wish it were that easy to call a place one’s home.