I think I have an answer… to this question of Home

Ok, so… I’m about to head back to New York in two days time and I think I’ve got the whole thing figured out… this question of Home, that is.

And for starters, well… I don’t think Home is just one place.  And I think that that applies to ALL of us these days, rich or poor.

Home is no longer just where you’re born. Nor is it where you are, necessarily. Nor is it where your loved ones are – your friends and family. Nor is it just the actual space you live in.  And to define Home as a “State of Mind” or “where the Heart Is” is a cop out.

Home is ALL OF THE ABOVE and more, except, maybe, your nationality.  And I think that’s an exciting thought, at least for me.

I pretend in my “About Me” section, that I call three cities home and a few others home too, tangentially.  But I think I’ve gotten some clarity on this now – after two years of floating around – such that I’m able to explain myself authoritatively… well, at least in a few short blurbs:

  • Why is Singapore home? Because I was born there, I grew up there mostly, and because most of my immediate family and closest friends are there. And I know the culture, inside out.  So it is home, whether I like it or not.  It feels, well… comfortable... unstressful... effortless. 
  • Why is New York home? Because my beloved is there, and my actual private living space – as in my physical, “apartmental” home is there.  So it’s where I am most able to enact scenes of normalcy like watching TV and curling up on the couch with my cat.  So it’s home too, whether I like it or not (and I’m not a big NYC fan, I can frankly admit).  It allows me to be domestic… affords me privacy… allows me to order my life in a series of routines.
  • And why is London still home, even though I have, to all purposes, left it? Because I found a new aunt there I never knew existed, who has made a big difference in my life and will continue to do so.  And because I made some absolutely amazing friends that are, well…ditto as per aunt.  And because, I suppose, post-colonial subject that I am, I found it reminded me of all the books (Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl, etc) I read as a child growing up.  So in short, it feels familiar… same yet different, in a positive, transformational way. I felt I learned something there that changed my view on things.  (NOTE: The above – except aunt and post-colonialism – applies to the Bay Area in California too.)
  • And what about Shanghai? And Dubai? And Hamburg? And… some other places? They feel like home too, because I know that I will have a roof over my head, and friends / family to do simple things with – dinners, drinks, hanging out, etc. The essence here really, is shelter – with all the nuances the term suggests: cosiness, company, conversation, coffee, couches, cabernet…

So there we go: Comfort… Domesticity… Familiarity… Shelter…  Add Love to the mix and you get… Home, sorta kinda.  Such straightforward concepts all these are, but so hard to locate, or rather, attain in one place these days.  There’s always someone, or something, or some-feeling you wish could be there where you are at any one time, to make it all perfect.

But perfection is perhaps too much to ask for in these uncertain times. Next-to-perfect is good.  Next-to-perfect is perfectly awesome.  In fact, I think, that’s what it – as in the whole globalizationmodernlifeonearthriddlecaboodle – is really ALL about. What we’re really all about.

But I think too much.

Welcome home, earthling, wherever you are!  (You know who I’m referring to.)  And don’t stay there too long. Come back home. =)

Singapore searching

New York cooking and cleaning

London accumulating

Hamburg reminiscing

Shanghai living

About Kennie Ting

I am a wandering cityophile and pattern-finder who is pathologically incapable of staying in one place for any long period of time. When I do, I see the place from different perspectives, obsessive-compulsively.
This entry was posted in Home, New York, Singapore, Sociology & Urban Studies, Travel & Mobility and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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