How to define home when living an entire life in transition?
During the last 20 years, I have lived in three different countries and moved eight times. It’s not packing boxes what unsettles me. Each move has required passports and immigration procedures, driving licenses, professional certification, and helping my family thrive in the new culture.
Moving across countries also requires leaving behind friends. Because life has been good, moving implies some grieving for what’s lost, a part of me that will never be recovered. Everything I’ve held for sure during that period of time disappears.
Sometimes I wake up and don’t know where I am. I have to ground myself to remember what city I live in. When I drive on hills, I have to stop and think: am I in Caracas? In Oakland? Is this Mississauga? How did I become so lost and disoriented?
The house I moved to in June 2014 never felt like home. The minute I walked through the door, my marriage cracked along with the poorly installed hardwood floors left behind by the previous owner. “It’s the house.” I told my husband.
My husband, the only constant in my life, his heartbeat the place I’d go back a million times over to seek comfort and feel safe, the only resemblance of home I know.
We ripped the floor and replaced it with clear, elegant tiles, which hide the dirt when I’m tool lazy to sweep. I haven’t been so lucky fixing my marriage. My bed still reeks with the stench of the other women who enjoy it.
There is a Japanese pottery technique that transforms broken vessels by gluing the pieces with melted gold. (Kintsugi)The results are stunning utilitarian pieces, one of those women explained when she suggested to give him another chance. “Something beautiful will come out of it.”
“I’m leaving,” I told now grown children, my joy and reason to live. But I came back anyway.
Five months ago I put up the house for sale hoping to be ready in two weeks and move to another state. Now that I’m about to release my book, the house just sold.
The pieces of my broken marriage will be neatly wrapped in butcher paper and tucked carefully in cardboard boxes. They will go in storage for a while because I decided it’s time to put my book first and think of home later, selfish as it may sound.
My family is home. We are scattered, like the pieces of my heart.
I have always put my family first during the succession of arrivals and farewells of our lives. Now that my children are grown, this time it’s for me. The releasing of my book will give me direction until I am ready to find/create home again.