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Long Beach, California
Whenever I read articles written by bloggers describing their love and affection for their homeland, it makes me miss my home. Most everyone wants to be home. I, too, yearn to be back home. The only problem is that I don’t know where my home is.
As I revisit scenes from my childhood, I remember standing shyly in front of a classroom full of new faces, waiting for my teacher to introduce me to my new peers. I can still feel my face heat up from the embarrassment I repeatedly experienced as I drifted into countless classrooms throughout Taiwan as “the new kid.”
As a manager of a bank, my father was always dispatched to different cities. This was the case throughout my entire adolescence. Just when we would start to feel comfortable in our new home, my dad would receive the order that it was time to relocate to a new town.
Finally, my father was assigned to a permanent position in Chungli, Taiwan, which is about 40 minutes driving distance from Taipei. Ironically enough, just when he would finally settle-down and take root in a place to call home, it was time for me to leave and start college. I never really grew close enough with Chungli, as it was just a place I came to visit during my holidays and vacations while I attended National Taiwan University in Taipei.
After I graduated from National Taiwan University, my husband, who I had met during my Sophomore year in college, and I left for the United States to pursue graduate degrees: I went to pursue a Master’s in Botany, and my husband sought a Ph.D. in Biochemistry. I went to Logan, Utah for a brief time then transferred to Urbana-Champaign, University of Illinois.
Once we both had completed our studies, my husband and I ended up spending time in Boston, Los Angeles and Mobile, Alabama. We also bought hotels in Phoenix and Dallas. Remembering all of the places I’ve lived throughout my life, I can’t help but scratch my head and wonder – where is the place that I call home?
Several years ago, my son and I travelled to China. I had anticipated that it would feel like a strange place for me. Unexpectedly, however, the people, culture and places we came in contact with seemed unusual familiar. Was I back in touch with my roots?
The whole experience back in China left me puzzled. I thought about it over and over, convinced that if I thought about it long enough, I’d determine whether or not China was my true home. Unable to arrive at any conclusion, I asked God to provide me with an answer to my question, “where is my true home?”
Once a Mexican lady told me that I was a “well-round person.” When I asked her what she meant by that, she said that I was very worldly, as if I was from the many corners of the world. She even suggested that while I may not have actually been from all over this world in this lifetime, I must have lived in different parts of the world in previous lives.
Is this the answer that I’ve been searching for? If so, it’s safe to say that while there is no one place in the world for me to call my home, I simply call the world my home. My roots, instead of clenching strong and confined to just one part of the earth, reach so far that I can claim everywhere as my home. And yet, I know this is the case not just because I’ve lived in so many places throughout my life, but because of my understanding and interpretation of the word “home.”
The ancient Roman philosopher Gaius Plinius Secundus once said, “home is where the heart is,” and I can not agree more. You see, home is wherever we feel the love that is in our hearts. Therefore, in order to identify where home is, all we need to do is look inward. Home isn’t a place itself; it’s the feeling that the place provides us with. If we feel love and warmth, we’re home.