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Where is home?

Nnedimma, you are always on the go. When are you coming back home?

Nnedimma, are you flying home for the holidays?

Do you have a set place you want to settle after you are done traveling?

These are questions I get a lot of time from people. There’s no set time or place that I have in mind. I have no specific ideal or dream place that I want to be. And to be honest, I feel like I haven’t gone to enough places to answer this question. And even if I did, is it enough? Is it where I truly want to be? Do I want to have a place set out for me for the rest of my life? What am I exactly looking for? Maybe I should just be content of where I am? Will, I just hit a dead end?

Growing up in the United States nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. to first generation to Nigerian born parents, DC was a very comfortable place for our family to live in. Even my parents being far away from their families, we had our huge Nigerian community there for us and on top of that, its known to have a large Black community as well. Everything felt like home and familiar. It’s small, lots of free attractions to go and see throughout the year, and a convenient place to get around…its all we ever needed. I think DC is a nice place to live, but after living there for the first 18 years of my life, I am ready for something else.

In college, I moved to Northwestern, PA where I was encountered with the true, the real America. People were nice yet curious about where I was from. Some were very expressive about their views others didn’t seem to care about any matters. After 4 years seeing it all, I told myself “There is no way I would live here or anywhere in this state”

Also during my college years in the summer, I have traveled to many other states, but the one I have spent the most time in, particularly two summers in is the Bay area. The Bay area is a really nice place to visit. There are lots of places to see, to eat, and to explore. Overall, a wonderful travel destination, but I personally would not live there.

Then at one point, I did a year in Shanghai, China which was different, and beyond what I thought I was going to see. I saw a lot of interesting, crazy and funny things out there. It was fun while it lasted, but for many reasons, I could not see myself living there again.

And currently, I am in the small island of Taiwan where most people confuse it with Thailand or say that its a “part of China” ( in which this statement is so controversial and I am not gonna get into the details of this matter) and its a really nice place. The people are nice, food is pretty good, I really like the weather (minus the rain) and its overall a very comfortable, chill and convenient place to live. But long term? The future is very uncertain. It’s too early to say if you ask me.

When I first came to Taiwan, I met someone from the hostel I was staying in. He asked me “Where do you consider home?” To be honest, I don’t know. I grew up in DC but it never felt like home. People made fun of me throughout school so I always felt like an outcast. As I grew up, I also had this big desire to go travel and see places outside of DC. And now I am outside of the US, I am still not sure what’s considered home. He too was looking for that as well.

He is from Shanghai but grew up living half of his life in China and the other half in the US where he also had a hard time with his identity and relating to many of his peers. Also growing up, he moved around a lot with his mother. From one state to the next, from one country to the next. He never had time to get comfortable and make connections with people or places. Having this conversation with him made me realize, that I wasn’t the only one feeling this way.

Relating with friends back home can also be difficult as well. Many of them already have stable jobs, some are getting married/already married, taking care of their kids, and all of that is fine, but I don’t necessarily want to go down that path at this moment and there’s nothing wrong with that.

The thought of staying in one place for my entire life doesn’t entice me. But of course, at home, you know all of the best places to go and see, the great food to eat, and the hidden gems. And on top of that, you have your friends, family, and the comfort of being there is great and all, but is that the life I want to live?

Sure! Being far away I miss my family and friends here and there, but I know I can go home and see them sometime. But we can create and form families wherever we are. Family can be people that we form close relationships with. They don’t necessarily need to be blood-related.

When I moved to China, everything there was different. The people, the food, the way of life, the language,….it was a challenge living there, but the process of trying to figure it all out was fun. There were days where people would not understand my horrendous Chinese and I would get frustrated go home and cry. Other days things would go by so smoothly that I felt I knew it all. Looking back at that time, it was hard, in some ways, but exciting through it all. I made a lot of friends from all over the world. They were my family to me. If it wasn’t for them, I am not sure if I would have enjoyed my stay there so much.

And now more currently: Taiwan. I thought it would be similar to China, but it is very different in many ways which I had to get used to. The food, the Chinese accent, the environment, the warmness of the locals…so many different things. And getting used to living in Taiwan took some time, but overall has been pretty good to me so far. But is it home?

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