Over the years, I have learned that the true meaning of home is not based on a single dwelling place. Home is a feeling.
Home for me is found in the backyard of my granny and grandad’s house, now my mom and dad’s, catching lightning bugs as a little girl with my brothers and sisters. Placing them in a jar to watch their mesmerizing glow. It is in that same backyard, years later, catching lightning bugs with my two small children. Home is found under a mosquito net in an apartment in southern China, snuggling with my infant daughter until she falls asleep. It’s in that same apartment filled with laughter from my husband’s students as we made Chinese New Year’s dumplings together. It is in an apartment in Texas with my arms open wide, welcoming my son as he takes his first steps.
It is found in an orphanage nursery in China, holding little ones who are desperate for any kind of loving touch. It is in a compound in the mountainous region of China, with the Miaoling Mountains keeping watch, where my daughter learns to read and my son learns to ride his bike. It’s in a Chinese market with exotic smells, sounds, and sights; eating homemade sesame bread with my family that was baked inside a heated steel drum.
It is in the Mongolian countryside, stumbling with laughter while running freely across the fields at camp, with children who normally live on the streets or in a government-run orphanage. It is found lying in the fields at that same camp each summer with my daughter, son, and I watching shooting stars. Home is in the living room of our children’s home in southern India, sitting with my husband on the cool tile floor while little ones flutter about in happy chaos. It is in an apartment in Hong Kong, overlooking the harbor, where my nuclear family is together again for the first time in a long time!
It was fun to take a pause and replay these moments. My life is rich and filled with many such memorable moments, just not within the confines of a single location or one place. Each new move, I take the feelings of home with me.
This post was created in response to Marilyn’s invitation (at Marilyn R. Gardner “Home is not an Answer to a Question” blog post) to “write down what home is to you.” Like Marilyn, I invite you to add your own impressions of “what home is.” You can add them to Marilyn’s post or to mine in the comments. I would very much enjoy hearing your ideas on home and your own story too!