They say a house is not a home, but when does a new country or a new city become home? After a recent trip to the city I was born and raised in turned out to be not what I expected, I experienced that turning point firsthand. For as long as I can remember I’ve identified myself as a Canadian someone born outside the U.S. and not really an American–yet. I considered myself a visitor(a visitor that wasn’t leaving any time soon). But on this particular trip it felt different. What makes a home a home? Familiar landmarks. familiar things or routines that you could do in your sleep. But because I hadn’t been “home” in such a long time I couldn’t find my way around. I looked at a map, studied it in fact. And I asked strangers for directions. Its an unsettling feeling when you are used to having all the answers and another thing when you are asking the questions. Also going back you realize people do change, those that were so necessary in your life don’t seem like that anymore. People and attitudes you may have shared with these familiar people are now confused. But even with all that your relationship with the city itself changes.
They say you can never go home again, but maybe home changes in to something you don’t recognize. So at the end of a trip when the customs agent asks you where are you going you answer – home – your new home with a little bit of sadness.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.