Where’s home

Kevin comments on the nature of a home. For a long time, home has been where I hang my hat. When people ask “Where are you from?” I don’t have a good answer. I usually answered “everywhere,” but that led to lengthy questioning. The truth is, the longest I’ve lived anywhere was the five years I spent in Seattle, but that doesn’t feel at all like home.

These days, I usually just say “California,” which for many on this coast is the equivalent of saying “Mars.” In other words, my interrogator simply answers “oh.”

I’ve had a recurring dream–one of those dreams so real that it seems like it must be–of a place with tall white buildings and lots of water in canals. I thought for a moment that I had found it when I visited Singapore, but then I realized it was too hot to be home. I’d still love to find that place, but I am increasingly concerned that it is only in my head. Not that most homes aren’t in people’s heads.

I was perfectly happy being a “citizen of the world” for the longest time, and then last year I got a funny feeling when I visited southern California. As the plane settled onto the runway, I had this strange feeling in my belly. At first, I thought it was just the roller-coaster feeling one sometimes gets on landing, but then it washed over me: I’m home.

So, that should settle it, right? My flag of convenience–“the OC” in recent parlance–has become my home in the heart. So, I guess that’s that.

Only recently, I got that same feeling landing at JFK. Very confusing. I’ve always been a late bloomer; maybe this is my nesting instinct kicking in. Or maybe I have always been without a home, and now I am finding that I am at home in the global city, wherever that may be. Or something.

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6 Comments

  1. Posted 3/22/2006 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    that feeling in your belly… it was just the ulcer waking up that is caused by having to deal with california-car-wealth-appearances culture…. it would be a few months to come to fruition, luckily you escaped fast…. :)

  2. Posted 3/22/2006 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    Alex: Kudos, but how about considering the world your playground? Since you’ve lived in Japan for a while, ever thought of possibly living there?

  3. Posted 3/23/2006 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Well, really, I could *live* anywhere, at least until recently. The teaching post in the UAE was looking enticing, at least for a while, and I had been invited to teach in UB’s Singapore program.

    But in reality, I’m probably hemmed in to large cities in the US for a while.

    My wife’s career is fairly US-centric for the time being, and the sort of work she does limits us to fairly large cities. She could change careers, of course, and we all do throughout our lives. But for now, our change horizon is fairly small: it’s New York, LA, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, etc.

    Moreover, the dog is a member of the family at this point, and we aren’t going to leave him behind, which severely limits where we could go.

    Finally, we’ve done some travelling–and as you noted, lived in Japan for a bit–and we *like* living in the US. It’s got a lot going for it, I think.

  4. Posted 3/23/2006 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Oh, that just makes you a proto-canadian. You must know that. Move to some part of Canada and call it home, and continue on your quest… we’re dog positive, don’cha’know.

    I look out my window, and I see the hospital where I was born, I see the apartment i lived in for the past 15 years, where yuka and I work, and at various trajectories in the distance where I’ve worked or studied for the past 20.

    That’s unnatural.

    You’re the norm, and home is elsewhere.

  5. Barbara
    Posted 3/23/2006 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    dream…
    of a place with tall white buildings and lots of water in canals…

    oh, duh – that’s the Venetian in Las Vegas.

  6. rolcoco
    Posted 3/27/2006 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    Weird enough, I felt myself at home when I was in Japan. I have both physical and psychological reactions toward the environment when I got out of the airplane. Every time when I got homesick in this second biggest city of New York State, what I thought of was the crowds in Shinjuku, but not the food in Taipei.

    Previously, I thought I would be fine in any big cities (a common syndrome in Buffalo). But now I realize that only (east) Asian cities can make me feel like home, and Tokyo is just the prototype of it.

One Trackback

  1. […] I recently wrote about how I was torn between two “homes”: SoCal and NYC. Having just spent a bit of time in “the OC,” I have refreshed my memory for comparisons. How do they stack up? […]

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