HOME. Home is where the heart is. But what if my heart is not in just one place but is found in many places?
Home. Embedded in my nature, it is where I was born and raised. Where I played. Where I laughed, learned, and cried. It is a place where the first rain of autumn brings out the smell of the earth’s rich red clay infused with the scent of pine and the Mediterranean. The streets are small, the cars too big. Remnants of shrapnel torn buildings are interspersed among concrete and glass skyscrapers. Many, like me, have had to leave their birth homes because of war and persecution; yet, the city is overcrowded with sons and daughters of repatriates. It is a place where I grew up and learned that my mother tongue was different from this country of birth. It is where I became me. The start of my culture, traditions, religion, family, parents, siblings, warmth, comfort. A fortress of love, it is where I will always come to. This home, my Lebanon takes on a human form when I feel that tragedy has turned our world upside down, and we’ve lost some of our faith in how the world works.
Home. It is a place to where I move to spread my wings and discover the length and width of my horizons that stretch the imagination of my dreams. It is where I first experience being homesick and knowing the sharp boundary between home and the not so home until it becomes profoundly familiar. It is made up of experiences that change me and teach me. It is where I become me, mentally. These are the people and a place from which I go forth lessoned and disciplined; a place that even today, connects me to the growth and development of my teen years. With its distinct history, this big Island of Britain reaffirms that although the people have changed and many of the familiar faces have vanished, I am not a stranger among the all too familiar sounds and sights of a land of kings and queens.
Home. It is a transient place to which I belong not only in the physical term but also in moments that capture the small things that inspire and bring images resonating with affection. Here too is a reflection of my personality. Home is made of love. There is sorrow here. But there is also laughter, excitement, care, hope, and comfort within the family of those around me. Home is people. This is my space to be as I face the quotidian tug of war between feeling at home and being home. With its ancient history and roots of philosophy, the Aegean, much like the Mediterranean has that magnetic property of home. I will always come home.
Home. It is a place where everyone speaks my mother tongue. It is a symbol of all that I have learned. It is the discovery of my ancestors and the hardships they had to endure. A place of music, mountains and lake, churches, and colors; a place where God Himself called His Eden. This is my home of a truly ancient people where youth are learning to smile and laugh again. Here, the crosses carved like delicate lace embroidered on red tufa stone adorn the country as old as the hills of creation. This is the home that defines me. This is the home where memories rise to greet me through the souls of my ancestors. I am responsible for this home; her safety and the success and well being of her people…my people. It is not perfect; far from it. But this is home. This is Armenia.
Home. For a split moment it looks just like the other homes on the block. And for a fraction of that moment, when I return from my trip, I see it as a stranger would, but the illusion fades and my home is my home again. Home. It is the place I seek the new, and for the last 40 years, I have built upon the dreams of those distant lands. This is the home where persons whose hearts and minds can bind my past into my future in one single place. This home is the threshold to my sanctuary, my space to be and my space to share. All the furnishings I need, from past to present…. families, friends, love, comfort, trust, learning, security, freedom… all welcome me home.
Home. It is where the heart is.