I boarded a jetblue flight Wednesday morning from Dulles to Oakland. As I got settled in the window seat, my favorite seat, feeling grateful that the middle seat was empty, the woman in the aisle seat turned to me.
“Are you going home?” she asked me.
For the first time, I found that answer complicated.
“Well I live here now, but I’m from the Bay Area, so, yes,” I said.
The answer seemed to satisfy her, but it left me thinking, where is my home? Is home where you live, or is home where you’re from? Or is home where you’re around the people who make you feel complete?
If home is where one lives, then D.C. would be my home right now…I’m a rent-paying, job-hunting urban crawler of the district. If home is where one is from, then no matter how many places I live, home will always be in California; after-all, you can’t change where you’re from. But if home is with people who make you feel complete, then I have homes all over the world.
I look at my friends’ lives and homes, and I realize I’m lucky to struggle to answer the question, “where is home?” The struggle means I have it good in so many places I can’t decide which is better, more comfortable, and full of more love. If the trite expression is true, “home is where the heart is,” then my home is in the bay, in my new apartment here in D.C. with Jess, but my home is also with the people who hold a piece my heart: a few close friends I still talk to in Cape Town, in the cozy apartment inhabited by my Afghani family in Delhi, and with those who I have met in my life who have touched me who are currently scattered throughout the US, Canada, Europe, Africa, and Asia. If the expression is true, I am always home when I am around people I love.
And if I think of home that way, as a feeling rather than a place, I don’t have to worry about how to answer my seatmate’s question next time. “Yes, I’m going home,” I’ll confidently say, knowing, secretly, that I’m really just going from one home to another.
I am one lucky girl.
Moment of Zen, D.C. style:
What happens when Laiah, 2 friends from California, and Anoop, an American Idol contestant, are in a bar? Sounds like a bad joke, but in fact, it’s reality. The answer? The friends laugh when Laiah gets excited, Laiah defies them, goes to talk to him, telling him he’s on the front page of Indian newspapers every week, he gets excited, and Anoop and Laiah chat it up. It’s sad when the most exciting non-political celebrity I’ve spotted in D.C. is from a reality TV show…here’s to an exciting (?) year in D.C. Also, speaking of reality shows, the fated MTV Real World is coming to Dupont Circle. I will be staying as far away from those cameras as possible.
showing where the living room ends and my bedroom will begin. more apt pictures to come as we continue to get settled