Updated: Feb 2, 2021
I am sitting in an impersonal hotel room, having just moved continents, not knowing where I will live, having left my family “back home”. I am looking at the snow out of the window and I am trying to imagine a day when I will enjoy walking outside in this weather. ‘I will thrive in the summer, when others will be too hot’, I am thinking to myself to feel better.
I am surprised by these imposter thoughts, which fortunately are interrupted by my phone chiming. I start receiving messages that say: ‘Welcome home, friend!’ I let this sink in. ‘Welcome home’.
The word home carries a lot of weight for me, especially in my identity as an immigrant. For me, home is where I can be myself: my present self and also who I want to become. Home is feeling safe. Home is the freedom to choose my guiding values and not having to follow society’s unquestioned ones. Home is kindness. Home is feeling seen and heard. And as I was just reminded, home is where my friends are.
I have been fortunate to have cultivated strong friendships with wonderful humans who now are spread all over this planet. ‘I have a Scottish sister and an Indian sister’, to paraphrase my amazing friend Sibani, when she describes the depth of our love. As beautiful as it is to have friendships that withstand the test of time and space (!!), it kind of sucks to have most of your friends living far from you, and to hope to maybe see them in-person once every two years in the best-case scenario. This is a consequence of the expat life, and of the tendency to find refuge in communities of foreign nationals who live temporarily in the same country.
In my experience, Canada broke the mold by giving me friends that grew up in this country. It’s the only country where I have met my friends’ parents and siblings, I have been invited to their homes and I joined them for holiday traditions that I had not celebrated before. I feel as if I have gained an extended family, in which I can be just who I am. How special this is! How non-trivial.
I am home because I don’t need to leave parts of my identity behind. I am home because you trust I have something to offer to you and I trust you have something to offer to me. I am home because we can learn together, grow together, become better people together.
So, thank you to my friends who warmed my heart today by welcoming me and reminding me why I chose to be here. At last, I’ve come home.❤️
What is home for you? What does it feel like?
As of February 2021, I live and learn on the traditional territory of the Wendat, the Anishnaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Métis, and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. The treaty that was signed for this land is referred to as the Toronto Purchase Treaty No. 13 (1805). We are all treaty signers, and are thus responsible and accountable for the violence Indigenous Peoples face in Canada.
To find out more about the land that you’re on, visit native-land.ca.
P.S. Moving can be stressful and isolating, especially during a global pandemic! I haven’t been able to find the right support network to help me process my move, so I decided to create one! (#playful_experimentation) I am launching a 6-week group coaching program to bring together people who are relocating and help them process this change and design their new life. Please spread the word, if you know of someone who can benefit from it. What’s better than having the support of a community in these trying times..!