The Place Called Home
Since I came to the States at the age of 11, I had always looked forward to my trips back to Taiwan during spring, summer and winter breaks. Sharing the car ride with the other Taiwanese youngins from our boarding school to the airport, hanging out at the airport with friends and sharing our excitement for the journey ahead, cherishing the feeling of being an “insider” or frequent flyer while savoring the not-so-secret secret menu - instant noodle and chocolate pies, dropping by others’ seats and chitchatting about our plans for the exciting two weeks ahead, saying our temporary goodbyes at the baggage claim, and rolling our carts and luggage through the gate to the arrival lobby, then as we walk out, feeling overjoyed when spotting mom and dad in the crowd waving lovingly at me.
During the days and weeks at home, I would walk through the streets I had always known and visit the food stands that I had been missing for the several months on the other side of the world. I got to reminiscence over everything around me, savoring the familiarity.
This familiarity, some point along the way, seems to have evolved. I recently noticed this feeling of strangeness, it was in fact during my last trip to Taiwan this past December. It was as if I was traveling and visiting another country. Feeling blue, I realized that after living abroad for 15 years now, I am quite detached from this haven where I had always find peace and comfort, my Netherland where I can find my childhood memory and happiness, kept safe and sound.
It was a bit of a sad realization, though this feeling of detachment soon subdued. This is now a vacation spot for me, a place where I am somewhat of an “insider traveler” and still got all sorts of tips for my friends who plan on visiting Taiwan . With this vacation mind set, my adventurous / OCD side immediately started a mental list of all the touristy traps and spots that I would like to visit, as a tourist in my own hometown.
Still in my seat on the flight to Taiwan, I started thinking through all the places I lived in, from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, to California, and recollecting all the wonderful memories each place had created with me. Now situated in California, I do find this place growing lovelier (everyday) with each passing day, and it might just be a matter of time as I am still searching, hopefully, for that one place where I will eventually call home.