Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Home



What do you consider home?

Where you were born? Where you grew up? Where you currently live? Somewhere else?

The holidays are upon us and its caused me to start thinking about this concept of home. Last year the holidays were pretty brutal; I was still building relationships with people and they had family and friends to visit over Christmas and the like, while I was essentially by myself. I was a bit homesick, since I knew my family was together and my friends were hanging out in Michigan to be with their families and see old friends.

It's kind of sad that I didn't do anything special over Thanksgiving last year; I just ate out at Nando's.

Thanksgiving 2010

This year is different.

My awesome roommate Yulius, who is a chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu Sydney is making a proper Thanksgiving dinner! We've having several guests over too, however, instead of turkey we have two 2kg chickens...but it's no big deal. He's making everything else from scratch...mashed potatoes, gravy, marinade, raspberry jam, stuffing, and corn. It's going to be delicious...

Back to home.

I've moved around a lot in my life. I was born in Tainan, Taiwan, and moved to East Lansing, Michigan at 6 months old while my dad was a graduate student at Michigan State. After he graduated we moved to Tempe, Arizona where my dad obtained his PhD at Arizona State. Then we moved to Dearborn, Michigan briefly where we stayed with my uncle (dad's twin brother) while my dad looked for a job. After getting a job, we moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan and my family has been there since.

Class of 2001

Since graduating from high school and going off to college in East Lansing, I've always considered Ann Arbor home. I grew up there; spent 11 solid years of of my youth in one of the nicest cities in America. I'd go back every so often in college (to do laundry and get some home cooking of course) and didn't really consider East Lansing my home because college is temporary...it's just a chapter of your life before you move onto the next one.

After graduating, I found a job in Ann Arbor and lived at home for a year before up and moving to Washington, DC for another job opportunity. I only knew 2 people in the area prior to moving, so calling DC home was out of the question. Just like in college, I'd visit home every so often (to do laundry and get some home cooking of course.) I lived in DC for 3 years and built several relationships, including an organization (Go TAP-DC!) but still considered Ann Arbor home...mostly because I couldn't see myself living in DC for an extended period of time.

Adam's Morgan in the blizzard of 2009

That brings me to today.

Andrew Largeman: You know that point in your life when you realize the house you grew up in isn't really your home anymore? All of a sudden even though you have some place where you put your shit, that idea of home is gone.
Sam: I still feel at home in my house.
Andrew Largeman: You'll see one day when you move out it just sort of happens one day and it's gone. You feel like you can never get it back. It's like you feel homesick for a place that doesn't even exist. Maybe it's like this rite of passage, you know. You won't ever have this feeling again until you create a new idea of home for yourself, you know, for your kids, for the family you start, it's like a cycle or something. I don't know, but I miss the idea of it, you know. Maybe that's all family really is. A group of people that miss the same imaginary place.
Sam: Maybe.

I've having such an amazing time that it doesn't feel like real life. I'm beginning to call Sydney home, and I can see myself living here for a long, long time. Towards the end of my trip in the US, I found myself thinking that I couldn't wait to get home to veg out. When I talk about going back to Michigan to see family and friends, I now think "go back to the States" instead of "go back home." It may sound a little strange, but it feels completely natural for me to be here.

Sydney 2010


I contrast this with how I would feel living in other locations. I picture living in all of the cities I visited back in October or even living back in Taiwan, and I just can't see myself in any of those places, at least not in terms of settling somewhere. This is a corny analogy, but it's like love at first sight (not that I've experienced this.) You just know and it just works for you.

I love all the stuff that goes on here and the overall "vibe" of the city. I love the way things are done here and the culture they have, because it fits with my beliefs. They say home is where the heart is right? My heart is in Sydney.



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