By the age of thirteen I had been in six different schools, staying in each for up to three years at the most. It wasn’t because I was bullied or because I couldn’t make any friends but it was rather because my family just moved around a lot. Along with every school that changed so did the house we lived in and the street I had grown familiar to or the neighbors that were always nice.
My father worked in the army and my early years were spent moving around to different parts of the country, wherever he was stationed was supposed to be our new home, for the next six months at least. But things really changed when he found a job abroad. At first I hated the idea of leaving the country I was born in, but there wasn’t much left for us to stay and fight for. My grandparents were all dead except for one and my father just decided it was time to try something new.
And so we packed our bags not really knowing anything about where we were going but just that it was supposed to be better. It was this small country barely visible on the map somewhere in the Middle East where I ended up spending the next ten years of my life. I switched schools a lot but that just meant meeting more people from all parts of the world, learning to connect with others on different levels and watching a large number of distinctive people with different backgrounds and cultures blend into the same classroom. Each party was filled with individuals holding remarkable ideas in their minds and stories that they stitched up to make them who they were.
When I turned sixteen I was told it was time to move back home. At that point I had completely lost sight of what “home” even was. Was it the country I was born in or the one I had found a huge part of myself in.
Two years later, here I am eighteen years old and wanting nothing more than to go back to that small, unnoticeable dot on the map. All my friends would tell me stories about their childhood home how they had been living in it since birth and I would search the corners of my mind for a place that stayed for longer than a few years at a time but I’d always end up with defeat.
I guess I just learned to build a home inside the memories I carry with me, the laughter and the sadness. The people who carved their places inside my heart without me even noticing. The ones deep under my skin and the ones that helped me, held my hands and swore to carry my weight with me. I may not have a childhood home or a school I grew up with but I’ve got all these beating hearts belonging to beautiful people from all around the world. I’ve got stories to tell and stories to write.
I guess a home is never a composition of bricks and cement but rather the things that make you feel safe. The things that make you who you are. And mine just seem to be more scattered along cities across the Earth. -H