“Welcome home ma’am”, they say to me as I breeze through security at San Francisco airport. “Welcome home”, I turn the words over in my mouth once more, trying to gauge how I should feel, how I should react.
At the gate I see my Dad, waiting expectantly for my weary face and bright blue backpack. He beams when he sees me and rushes forward to pull me into a bear hug, I haven’t seen him in 7 months, not since the last time I was “home”.
Each time I enter the US they say those words, and they fill me with a sense of love and pride that is only slightly tinged by something else; “Do I really belong here? Can I really call this home?”. These questions I’ve been asking myself for many years, because I know when I eventually walk through the gates at Auckland airport, there’ll be smiling faces and huge hugs and many ‘Welcome homes’ through it all. The paradox being, neither statement is untrue. I’ve lived in both countries, I have both passports and I love each place and it’s people with all my heart.
Throughout my life people have expected me to choose, as if a person can only be from one place. Not understanding how my bloodline, my loyalty and my love could be split down the middle. I myself don’t completely understand it either, there aren’t any particular rules to follow, there is no guide book. Simply a knowledge that I can go “home” either way, but wherever I am I won’t feel 100% at peace; I’ll always be missing something.
By living in France I seem to have added another piece of the earth to my already abnormally long list of “home”. I have an entire life here that anyone not directly involved will never understand or really know about. But even here I’ll never belong, I can’t.
It seems as though wherever I go, wherever I am, I’ll never truly be fitting in; I’ll always be missing wherever I’m not. And yet, I’m lucky enough to at least partially, feel at home on three continents, and I think that’s a wonderful gift.