I was bored. At fourteen years of age, I wanted and prayed for a big change in my life. Little did I know that the life change that was about to come would bring me across the ocean, to another continent, and unknowingly, onto a search for belonging, love, and home.
A week after arriving in my new country, I excitedly started school. The excitement wore off quickly at break time. Lunch was a time when my friends and I got together, shared our meal, chatted and laughed. This time, I was alone. For the first time since I arrived, I missed home.
“Where we love is home – – – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.”
– Oliver Wendell Holmes
My friends made my birth country home. Though I physically parted ways with them, the love we shared kept us together. Over a quarter of a century after, that love still bonds us together. Eight years after my feet left my birth country, my heart decided to go back home.
My uncle died. It was at least ten years since I last saw him. I did not get to say goodbye. My grandmother’s health was failing too. I felt the need to see her, to say goodbye. I had to go back home. Two weeks after I arrived back at my birth country, my father was diagnosed with cancer. Two days after the diagnosis, the cancer was confirmed to be terminal. Even though I tried to enjoy my visit to my motherland, my father was in the back of my mind. Even though I was a continent away, part of my spirit was back in my adopted country where my father was. I had to go back home.
The day I arrived back to my adopted home was the day my father arrived back home for hospice care. For two weeks, all I did was take care of him, tried to make him comfortable – that was all I could do. He was surrounded by loved ones on that morning when he went back to his final home. I loved my birth country, but I felt more comfortable grieving in my adopted home, surrounded by family and loved by strangers who had become friends.
“A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.”
-George A. Moore
For eight years, I longed to be back in my birth country. I did not fully realize that moment by moment, person by person, I was slowly building my home in my adopted country. It took my father’s and my homecoming to feel that. Home is where you can break open, pour out your heart’s sorrow, and crumble because you know your friends are there to catch you, your heartbreak, and your grief. I had been home.
Finding a home to which you can come back gave me wings to fly and explore. I decided to test those wings and moved to another city. I moved for work, but never expected to find love. Supported by that love, I decided to expand my wings wider and explore farther. I moved 1,400 miles from home. Love followed me.
Moving to another city with no family and friends could be difficult. Love was there though to sustain me. Moving to different cities for different reasons could be destabilizing. Love was there though to stabilize me. Whatever happened, wherever it happened, love was the one thing that was constant. For eight years, my love and I slowly built a home. When it was time for my husband to move, I followed him home.
“Life takes you to unexpected places, love brings you home.”
– Melissa McClone
I moved for work, and found love. I moved for school, and love followed me. This time, I followed love back to his home. It is true, no matter where we go, where we love is home.