Home. Home is where we grew up. Home is where family and friends are. Some say home is where the heart is. But can a person have a home with a homeless heart? After all the trans-atlantic/pacific air miles, assimilating cultures from opposite faces of the globe, and traveling like I’m wanted by Interpol around Europe… is it finally the season to settle down?
A number of you may know that from age six to sixteen I resided in China - first Beijing, then Shenzhen, before good old Apartment #0330 in Guangzhou. In 2012, I returned to Guangzhou after five years of university to reacquaint myself with a less familiar Apartment #3802. Nostalgia completely steamrolled over me when I visited #0330 to witness it totally bare, partly demolished and under renovations with steel bars sticking out of concrete doorways and exposed hanging wires (exactly two years ago today actually). Fast forward to the present and there is no longer a return ticket home to Guangzhou or a house key for #3802. The family is moving back to Canada for good.
Our new home, codenamed or nicknamed “Redstone”, is your typical comfortable suburbia residence north of Toronto with a number of quaint parks, a few public schools, and a shopping plaza walking distance away with a McDonald’s or a Burger King (or both). I’m sure it’ll be absolutely lovely when Mom spruces up the place.
To be honest it’s still a bit of a shock and my mind hasn’t yet registered this fact. Yes, I am Canadian but going home always kind of meant getting on a Cathay Pacific super long-haul flight, watching awesome movies on tiny screens with shitty touch controls, and unlimited instant cup noodles while jet lagged at 4 a.m. in window seat 56A or something. Significant life transitions are moments I need to slowly taste, chew, and digest (unlike those cup noodles). But I didn’t say farewell to #3802, nor will I be there to welcome Redstone on ribbon-cutting day so-to-speak. The drastic change in lifestyle and the unknown of the future also terrifies me. Settling down sounds like the most sensible and stable phase in life ever but it’s strangely unnerving, especially when stepping into my new Redstone room devoid of memories.
Despite all my anxiety, these are auspicious and exciting times for the family. The parents aren’t getting any younger and my sister isn’t getting any more well-behaved. I’m looking forward to actually living with the family again… the first time in seven years. Save some IKEA shopping for me please. This heart needs a little house warming.