I’m thankful for home. My lack of one, precisely. Let me clarify: I’ve never really felt at home anywhere.
I could say that Los Angeles is my home because that’s where the majority of my extended family is from. We spend Christmas there. We lived in a little blue house in Lunada Bay when I was in elementary school. I could say I’m from Florida because I was born there, but we left when I was only a few months old on a plane with Linda Ronstadt sitting next to me and my mother. The place I lived the longest was Alabama. I lived there through middle school and learned how to respect those older than me, but also gained a sense of strict, unwavering gender roles. I could say I’m from Virginia, where I went to high school, because my parents still live and work there now.
The places I’ve listed are the major ones. I’ve lived in 10 different “homes” in my life.
I could say that my home originated with my ancestors in Greece, Southern Germany or Scotland. We still eat all the food from before my grandparents emigrated, and the languages were sprinkled into my life.
I’ve never had a hometown. I don’t have a place that I’m really “from.” I’m from the United States I suppose, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it is that our country is boundlessly different depending on where you hail from. From common vernacular to basic morals and beliefs, the most influential people in my life would be foreign to each other.
When I think of home, I think of a place that’s nowhere specific, but my family is there: My mother, father and brother are there. We are all laughing about how hilarious it is to be all together. Preferably, we are on a beach, but maybe it’s at a diner.
I’m grateful for the people that fill up my life, the ones that are far more important than the places and material things that shape them. I will never long for a certain lifestyle because I’ve known so many.
Moving around has allowed me to be free from some of the prejudices or biases that come with being from any one place. I’ve learned how to be compassionate. Pain is still pain and love is still love regardless of where you are from.
When people ask me where I’m from, I still pause. It shouldn’t be a hard question; it’s just that whatever my response is, no matter how succinct or clever, will never give that person an actual sense of who I am. But now, I like to think of it as more of a secret weapon than a downfall.
Now, I’m from Ann Arbor just as much as I’m from anywhere else. I’m addicted to the notion of the University being referred to as “hoMe.” People from all over the world, not just the country, congregate here to share ideas and tackle the world’s wicked problems. I’m sure there are countless students here that think home is more about the people you love rather than a place. That’s what’s so great about this rapidly globalizing world in the first place, right?