For over a year now, I’ve learned that the question “where are you from” is a conversation starter. It’s like a script everyone’s required to deliver whenever they come across another traveler.
Where are you from is a very easy question to answer. I say, “Philippines” right away – without pausing or thinking. However, when the question “where is home?” arises, I stop. And pause. And think. I lived in different cities through the years and now that I don’t have a home base, it became more difficult to answer this question.
When I was 14, I was rushing to leave home and live on my own. I didn’t want to be in my parents’ radar so I spent my teenage years partying every night, without my parents knowing. At midnight, I will slowly creep out of my bed, create a human shaped pillow and cover it with a blanket. That way, when my mom randomly checks my room in the middle of the night, she’ll think I am there but I wasn’t really. I was out drinking with friends – on a school night. When you are a teenager, home is not really the best place to be.
Today, traveling taught me the importance of home. It also made me realise how I miss it so much.
Home is where I wake up to the aroma of the best coffee my parents brew everyday plus my mother’s Chihuahua’s annoying growls.
Home is sitting down together for coffee at my parents’ garden overlooking the forest and sharing thoughts about life.
Home is when everyone dresses up for Halloween and puts on their best costumes ever.
Home is where you have an unlimited supply of clean drinking water. I realized this thought when I came to Africa and filtered my own water to drink everyday.
Home is where my big family shares a sumptuous meal every day. My parents are both good cooks and their children are excellent in eating. Out here, I have to survive so I eventually learned to cook.
Home is where I can simply shout at my neighbor’s backyard to call her for a cigarette break. By the way, the neighbor is my aunt.
Home is receiving a random call from my cousins inviting me for a couple of beers because they just want to talk… and throw in some life dramas in between. I’m my family’s shock absorber because I always look at everything in a positive way. Plus, I don’t judge so my cousins trust me with their lives.
Home is playing with my nephews and nieces.. and wrapping their gifts for Christmas. I find joy in shopping for gifts for the holidays!
Home is also forgetting that I am a godmother to almost a dozen more children. Meaning, I have to wrap more gifts but I always lose track of how many godchildren I have.
Home is sharing a joint with my siblings – talking about life, with no judgments, giving and seeking advices. When we reached adulthood, we developed a stronger and deeper relationship with each other when in fact, we fought a lot when we were teenagers. How surprising things can turn out with family.
Home is getting high and ending up cooking all the cup noodles and eggs in your parents’ kitchen while they are sleeping soundly. Oh, they have chocolates too! #munchies
Home is walking around the house with my underwear and my brothers won’t say a thing.
Home is dancing to random music with my sister. We just want to let go of things sometimes. We do random shouting and crying too.
Home is a warm hug from my mother, any time of the day. It’s reachable. It’s something that’s unlimited and free.
Home is sleeping on my comfortable princess bed. I’ve had the same bed ever since I was five years old.
Home is where I can ride my bike and skateboard. I grew up in a very safe community where we all can play on the streets without facing harm.
Home is driving your friends home when they are too drunk to care.
Home is filled with the beautiful spirits of my gay uncles.
Home is walking five minutes to the forest, jumping in the falls and spending the whole afternoon with my friends.
Home is where everyone in my neighborhood comes for potluck dinner. Seriously, it’s just an excuse to get together. Truth is, we all just have too much leftover food for the week that we have to share.
Home is showering with hot water in a very nice tub filled with my mother’s random liquid soaps and aroma collection.
I could go on and fill this article with 10,000 other things about home…
It’s not a place. It’s a feeling. When you are out there, you will not have the same things I mentioned above but it will make you appreciate what you have. The idea is a luxury. Even more luxurious than traveling the world.
I don’t regret anything but I wish, when I was younger, I should’ve not rushed to grow up and cherished every moment at home.
No matter how many countries I’ve been to, home will always my favourite place in the world.