I can’t believe I’m going home for Christmas.
It’s been over four years of wandering, of culture shock, of adapting to American life and to college, of getting married, graduating and now living in Egypt. I was beginning to think I’d never get to feel Kenyan grass again, or soak in the equatorial sun right down to my bones. Africa is a place that gets into your blood and never leaves. The savannah, the wildlife, the richness of the tribal cultures, the sky, the birds calling in the morning, the language, the texture of the wet grass… it becomes an embodiment of your identity in a way that living in an urban area never could.
This trip will be magical and heartbreaking. It concludes the chapter of our childhood for all of us, except maybe my littlest sister who is more American than any of us anyway. We’ll revisit painful and joyful memories, share more stories than anyone but other third culture kids would care to hear, and reunite for a week with who we used to be, hopefully for perspective on who we are now and how far we’ve come. The significance of this trip cannot even be described. It’s closure for all of us, because we were taken from the only home we’d known so suddenly, and unwillingly.
I came across these lines in the first book I read after finals were over this week. It resonated with me for its applicability.
Home is the place you return to when you have finally lost your soul. Home is the place where life is born, not the place of your birth, but the place where you seek rebirth. When you no longer remember which tale of your own past is true and which is an invention, when you know that you are an invention, then it is time to seek out your home. Perhaps when you have come to understand that can you finally reach home.
-Karen Maitland, Company of Liars