I don’t know what it’s like where you live, but in LA when someone meets you, the first question is, “Where are you from?” To which I reply, “LA.” This answer never satisfies though, and they must probe further. To which I then explain that I am not “from” anywhere in that sense of the word. No home town really. I moved to LA from Toronto, grew up between various places in Egypt and Canada, but my family is not Canadian or Egyptian. They are from Trinidad. I just like to throw that in because it confuses people.
This time of year, many people go “home” for the holidays. From the time I was in University, that has meant going to Saudi Arabia, Anguilla, back to Canada (when I moved to LA), Texas, and now Florida. My parents move often, so I visit them wherever they are, and wherever that is I feel at home. They have an incredible knack for making their spaces beautiful, warm, and welcoming and because it’s them, with their personal touch, it feels like home to me.
Sometimes over the holidays I choose to stay home, my home in LA, a city where I have lived for over 10 years which marks a record for me. I love my little home there, and the family I have created with my incredible network of friends. Some of my favorite holidays have been spent in the company of friends, my LA family, the family I have built over the years by nurturing relationships with those I love and being nurtured in return.
I also have homes elsewhere, with my soul mates, in spaces that are familiar to me. Wherever my best friend lives feels like home, because time spent with her feels as natural as breathing. My brother’s place is one of my homes, as well as my grandma’s sweet little apartment. Then there is my Aunt and Uncle’s place that I have been visiting for over two decades, which holds a very important place in my heart. I have spent a lot of time there, and know it is a place where the door is always open for me.
I suppose that’s it really. Home and family is wherever you feel welcome, wherever the door is open for you to relax, take a load off, and be exactly who you are. Just a couple days ago I found myself stranded at LAX for what would’ve been 11 hours. But one of my friends, a sister truly, came and picked me up and took me to her home, where we spent the day cooking and lying in her bed watching Breaking Bad until it was time to go back to the airport. On that day and in that space I was at home with family.
Though I may not have a hometown, or a house where I grew up, or any one particular place where all my family dwells, on the flipside I have many homes and a massive extended family with open arms and open doors. That makes me feel so incredibly blessed and grateful for my experience, even though it may be different from yours or someone else’s.
Whatever your definition of home and family, embrace, enjoy, and nurture it. Know that life is fluid and there is no formula for what yours should look like. It can be anything you want it to be, and it’s beautiful just as it is.
Many blessings to you and your family this holiday season. Merry Christmas!
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