Home is where the heart is
I recently realized that I confuse people all the time. They never know where I am going when I say I am flying home. That is because I feel at home in three places and I say it for three different locations.
Confusing, I know, but what is home? How do we define this word. Is it where our bed is, where we go to school, where we work or where our heart is? I think it is where our heart is but and I can say from experience that you can have more than one home at the same time. How do you split a heart?
I grew up in Farmington, Utah and that is my childhood home, my family home and where I learned my values. I feel at home in Farmington even after all these years. My parents and many siblings are there. I slip into life immediately there and feel happy.
Then I have Blonay, Switzerland, where I raised my children and created a new family base with my husband and my company. This is my chosen home, the place I choose to be and the most important place for my nuclear family.
Last year we were forced to move to Amsterdam. I use the word force because it took a lot of force to get me there and only under the condition that I keep a family base in Switzerland.
After one year I am just starting to feel at home in Amsterdam. France and Germany, where I have also lived, are episodes and adventures. Amsterdam may one day be a lovely memory but for now when I fly to Blonay, Farmington or Amsterdam I am going home.
Expat life is exhilarating and exciting but the feeling of being displaced is always part of it. There are days when you want to be like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz and just click your shoes and say there is no place like home. If you ask me where I am from I don’t say Kansas, like Dorothy and I don’t say Utah or anything for that matter. My standard reply is it is complicated and I promise you it is. Complicated but fun most of the time and on those other days I just wish Scotty could beam me where I wanted to be or that I had red sequined shoes. No matter, I was given a lovely home by my parents and created many more! I will always find home.
— Allison Ochs