Confession: I am a personal growth enthusiast. I read blogs and quotes and nonfiction books; I also listen to Ted Talks on my iPad app. Most TED talks are fantastic and make you think, this one particularly hit home. Pico Iyer’s recent TED Talk: Where is Home dissects the simple question: “Where do you come from?” Iyer’s blood and ancestry comes from India, despite the fact that he has not lived a day in his life there. However, he was born, raised, and educated in England. Yet, he pays his taxes and sees a doctor/dentist in the United States, where he is a permanent alien. Even more so, Iyer spends most of his free time in Japan (25+ years on a tourist visa). “Home,” he states, “is not a piece of soil, but a piece of soul.” When Pico Iyer thinks of home, he thinks of his friends and his family, and what he carries inside of himself. “Home is not the place where you happen to be born, but where you become yourself.”
I was born and raised in Milwaukee and its suburbs. That is where I come from, that is where I grew up and was educated and have spent most of my life. Wisconsin is where my family and I come from, and I’m proud of that. However, I became myself three years ago when I spent time in France. France helped me grow and find my voice. It helped me heal and realize all the things I wanted were possible. Though Wisconsin is my home, before I left I felt lost. France is where I became myself. The two combined have created my soil and my soul. The growth I will discover during this next year will be impeccable, and I wonder where the influence of working abroad in a country I consider a part of me will play in my own self-identification in the future. For now, however, France will always be a piece of my home, and a piece of my soul.
Where is home for you? What is home to you?