If you had to give one answer, to define what you would call home, would you be able to do it in just a few words? After a few days in Paris by myself, the only thing I could think of was - “I want to go home”. I wanted to be back in my room, in my home town, with my family and friends. Up until moving abroad, Mexico had been my home. Then the time came for me to go back in the summer, after my first year in France.
I was excited. I couldn’t wait to be back and just feel at ease again. The funny thing was, that I didn’t. Coming back, things had change, and maybe to the eyes of those living in Mexico they weren’t big changes, but for me, it was strange. Buildings that disappeared, others that had been built, stores closing, friends changing careers or moving houses. Even if, yes, it was still my hometown and I was falling back into my old routines, it still felt like starting all over. Something as simple as a conversation made me feel anxious because there was at least one new name popping out every sentence. People I had never heard of before that were now a big part of my friends or family’s lives. I kept being introduced to more and more people, and though it was great to meet them, I couldn’t help but miss the old times. Those days where I knew what was happening around me, even if I wasn’t necesserily present. I must admit, before coming back this first time, I never expected to feel as out of place as I did. At the end of the day, this is where I grew up, but then again, how was I expecting a place I haven’t lived in for a year not to feel foreign. You see moving abroad puts you in an interesting position. You start building your own traditions and routines to settle down, but yet part of you is still back home. And even though you want to get to a point where you can call this new place “Home”, a part of you keeps saying – “How could you?”. You hold on to what you know, because change can be scary, but you also can’t help to wonder whats on the other side of the barrier. Having spent a few years in France now, I can safely say that I’ve jumped over the wall of the unknown. Being here can definitely feel like home. I can work my way through Paris like I never thought I could before, and even though figuring out the ways of the French is still a work in progress, there is a familiarity that comes with the city every time I come back. In my mind, I can now say there isn’t just one place I would call home, because home is more than just where I grew up, or where I live now. Home to me is what I’ve experienced, the memories I carry with me: A smell, a look, a word, or even just a sound can take me back to all these different moments, and make me feel calm and at ease. Everything I’ve been through and everything I’ll go through will leave a mark on me, and whether I like it or not, it’ll probably follow me for the rest of my life. Before Paris, the sound of the metro doors closing or police sirens going off meant nothing to me. But now, if I hear that somewhere else, weirdly enough it’ll make me feel home just as much as hearing someone speak Spanish. We constantly feel the need to put a label on our origins, so we can fit into these boxes, where there’s no loophole imaginable. However, we are not just part of this one thing. After I went back to Mexico that first summer, I realized I shouldn’t have felt bad about feeling like I didn't fit in. It did not changed who I was, instead it only showed how much I grew and transformed. I was carrying a whole set of new experiences, and this meant that I was going to have to adapt every time I moved around, which I’m getting used to now. The constant switching between languages, traditions and cultures is just another part of my life, part of the things that feel like home at this moment in time.