Wednesday, August 24, 2011

feels like coming home

I have stopped trying to distinguish between my homes. Have you ever caught yourself, maybe the first time you moved out of your parents house, or after getting settled in college or a new city, referring to your new house as "home"? It feels almost scandalizing to refer to a messy dorm room with a word so intimate - "home" - that surely there can only ever be one real home in my life.... Right? Like, it's almost a sin to refer to this strange Northern city with bland food as "home," but maybe it's okay.

Well, I have decided to be done with all the confusion and just accept that I have three homes. So when I left El Salvador this month headed to Boston to visit some of my best friends in the world and the city where I became a lot of who I am, I went home. Being home was biking around the city with my roommate (once a roommate, you will always be "my roommate," no matter how long it has been since we have lived together); being home was eating mac and cheese for dinner and sharing joy with my friends, the sound of the T rolling along its tracks and the sight of the sunset over the Charles.

Then, when I went to New Orleans to be with my family, to be in the house that I have lived in since I was ten, I went home again. Being home was my own New Orleans accent coming back overnight (Is it Southern? Is it Cajun? Is is New York? Or somewhere in between...?) Being home was Dad closing the house up each night before bed - dishes washed, kitchen clean, trash taken out, doors and windows locked, air conditioning set to the perfect setting. Being home was family, and resting, and letting myself be taken care of.

And then, when I went back to El Salvador, and went through that customs line for the sixth time (this time with a residency card!!), I went home, too. I have come home again and again. The smells, they smell like home here, and it sounds like home too. The Salvadoran phrases, the white little ring painted around every manicured tree, it all makes me feel at home.

And getting so many hugs, everywhere I went, Homes A and B and C, all with people saying "We missed you sooooo much!", "I have felt an Olivia-shaped hole in my life...", "Don't be a stranger, ya hear?", or "Olliiiiiiiii, me hiciste MUCHA FALTA!" it all just reminds me that my heart is torn in three, in a million, and I am so over trying to decide which one is the real home, because that just doesn't exist. I am always home from now on, ya hear?!