“And where is home for you?” I have made a point to never give the same answer to this question. My answers are sometimes brief, sometimes longwinded, sometimes profound but most often punctuated by a shrug and big eyes.
There has always been, in my family’s jargon, a dual meaning to the word home. As a child, we had a home in Belgium, where we lived, but we would go back to Kenya in the holidays, where we were from. The first is the place which we inhabit and the second is the place which our loved ones inhabit.
For a while I believed that I was on an uneasy journey of acceptance of the phrase “I don’t know”.
The discomfort of being unpatriotic is not one often explored or even sympathetically glanced at. In most conversations, my lack of allegiance to a nation is seen as an act of disregard of “who I am” or “where I come from”. The legality of duo-nationality is one that is supposed to bring me ease and comfort, where it is finally possible to belong to two places at once. For others, once the two passports can be legally claimed, the situation feels like a closed case. But instead for me, it simply widens the gap of the in between. The answer can never be finite.
I’ll let you in on my secret. At some point, a few years ago, I hugged my father in the arrivals of a new city and country that I had never been to (Bangkok, Thailand) and felt to my very core that I was at home. As an adult, I carry my home with me everywhere I go, and I also leave it in the trusty hands of my friends and the embrace of my family. I have learnt that home will never be a singular physical location for me.
Now I see more clearly that the answer to the question is “nowhere and everywhere”. (Although a shrug and big eyes might do the question more justice).