Saturday, September 17, 2011

Where is Home?

Hindsight is 20/20 they say. I used to hear that a lot when someone made a mistake or did something that didn't turn out as expected. The phrase is meant to say that after you do something, you can look back and see the results and determine what you could have done better, how you could have avoided some of the problems you face or what you would have done different. It's really about what goes into your mind when you think back.

I got hit by a case of hindsight tonight. Sitting alone in my room on a Saturday night. What would normally be movie night but instead I'm here trying to find ways to pass the time. I guess Twilight Eclipse wasn't doing that for me.

Anyway, in the states and for as far back as I can remember I always maintained that 'home' was wherever I was sleeping that night. If I was staying with my mother for a visit, that was home. If I was living in a motel between houses, that was home. I moved a lot...approximately once every 2 years for the last 23 years. I always boasted that I had friends all over the world and from so many cultures. I loved that, and I still do. No one is more precious to me than the friends that have become like family to me over the years.

But now I realize that also meant I never really had any roots anywhere. I didn't have a place to call home. My childhood home is the only place that has any significant meaning in my heart. There was my family there around me - 2 grandparents, 1 aunt, 1 uncle and 2 cousins in addition to my mom and brother. I loved that farm and all that it had to offer. I could run all over the place and never go hungry or feel left out and alone.

Moving all those times wasn't easy and even when I got older and had my own place with my own junk and no one around to get on my nerves it never truly felt comfortable. I always felt alone and, since this is my blog and I'm unfortunately too honest with it, I did well on my own. I was really independent having been brought up the baby with so many relatives to watch over me.

My first move, when I moved into a closer joint family system with my other gma and great gma, cousin/wife/2kids, uncle, brother/wife/kid, situation I started feeling alone. I made friends quick and my gma also kept 2 kids who had lost their parents. The house was always full of people - like enough that there were always a few on the floor and it was a really big house. It didn't matter. I didn't feel like I belonged there. I haven't set my roots down since.

Before coming to India I did have dreams of finally having the family I always felt I was missing. I wanted so much to feel at home again. I had already met my in-laws and I knew what it had felt like to be here before. I didn't feel alone here back then. I now think a big part of that was that I still had my friends and family back in the states and I didn't feel disconnected from them.

Sitting here tonight I can't help but feel how wrong I was. This family isn't so much different from my family in the US. I will say that I'm very comfortable with my MIL. I'm not sure how or why, but even though I can barely talk to her because I know so little Punjabi I feel at peace around her. We understand each other really well and have little trouble communication (through signs, hand signals and some words). I even feel more comfortable talking with her in Punjabi than I do my own husband. The funniest thing is that she doesn't speak more than 10 words in English but we understand each other so well that she actually translates some of the things I say for FIL who knows English! (I swear that is a miracle lol.)  She's an impressive woman.

I just don't feel at home here. Regardless. When I go to cook in the kitchen, it doesn't feel like my kitchen (although I think lately I'm in there more than MIL). I don't feel free to move about the house when everyone is home because it doesn't feel like my house. I feel awkward even going out on the terrace sometimes if anyone is out there. I still do it because I can't live in one room all the time but I just feel out of place. I don't feel at home in my own room anymore. I have moments where this feels like a place of rest but those are becoming few and far between. I'm not sure if it's a phase of culture shock or not but right now I had almost rather be anywhere but here. And I don't mean the US.

Maybe I've moved so much I don't know how to stop. I'm not sure. But shouldn't home be a place you actually want to be and not just the place you're sleeping at night? I really feel like it should. I know why these places never felt like home. It's the just took me till now to figure that out. I don't have friends here and my access to my closest friends is very limited due to the time difference and our schedules. I'm not included in much around this house because I don't speak the language and when the ladies go out I'm always working. That only leaves me hubby. It's a really lonely place here for me.


  1. Thank you! You're right, love and care are what makes a home.

  2. I think this is a stage that will eventually pass. The only permanent thing in this world is the change. Let it be and try and learn some Punjabi and then practice with locals. I think it will be fun and you'll have more people to talk too. I think every Indian woman has to overcome the transition between homes after they get marry. Their real home becomes the in-laws home. They all get over that sooner or later.

  3. ahoy! Thanks for submitting your post. It's live now....


  4. "the place where you have people around who love you and you love them" you can call it home for matter how big a house can be but it can never be compared to a home, sweet home.

    liked you writing.