What is Home?
The Oxford dictionary defines home as “the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.” But keep reading, and it also defines home as “a place where something flourishes, is most typically found, or from which it originates.”
Home. Even the word itself conjures up powerful images and feelings. For me, home is a feeling of security- knowing that I am safe under my parents wings. Home is love- my mom always greeting us with a hug and my dad guiding us through life. When I picture my home, images of playing with my sisters in my childhood bedroom make me remember even the sound of our giggles. Home is the smell of clean, and a warm home cooked meal.
If it sounds like Home is my childhood house, it is really only because that’s the setting. Home is my family. I may not live with all my family, but they are where I flourish, where I strive to be typically found, and from where I originate. They are the foundation, the first building block upon which everything else is built.
All that said, home is also my childhood house. Yes, from an emotional perspective, Home is my family. It always will be. But, when someone asks where my home is, I never falter: home is Tijuana, Mexico.
The border town of Tijuana, Mexico is no stranger to attention. A favorite weekend escape to 1930’s Hollywood stars, a college party town in the 1980’s, and site to drug trafficker violence in the past decade. Tijuana is infamous.
But that is the Tijuana on the news and in the newspapers. The Tijuana I know, my hometown, is a once dusty border town that grew into a sophisticated city- with a few bumps and bruises along the way. The Tijuana everyone has heard of consists of about six blocks, the real Tijuana, the Tijuana that is my home, is a large and ever growing city. It is a city few outsiders ever really meet.
Tijuanenses, the people of Tijuana, are a fun and friendly batch. The geography of their city has made them an open minded bunch. After all, they see people from all walks of life every day of their lives.
The Impact of Home
On Our World Adventures
Growing up in an international border town is not without its amazing advantages. I was traveling abroad even in my mothers belly- visiting a foreign country to buy her favorite donuts or watch a movie. How’s that for a cool beginning in life?
As the busiest land border crossing in the world, the Tijuana-San Diego border is a mecca of cross-cultural, binational, and bilingual families. My generation thought nothing of crossing into another country to buy new shoes, a prom dress, or a birthday cake. We ran around Bonita parks in San Diego as easily as Parque Morelos in Tijuana. And we did all of it by crossing a then shorter border crossing.
It’s truly remarkable when you think about it. Two separate cities, separated by an international border crossing, and the residents of both with an almost unlimited access to the other (almost because you do, of course, need to have the proper visas and documentation).
It is in this city, on that international border line, that I find my roots, and my Home.
The Next Generation
As the kiddo grows up, I find that my daughters definition of Home is very different than mine. Though she has spent countless months in our home in Tijuana, she favors our other base as her home.
But I know why. For my kid, Home is her family. And her family is always wherever she is. On the day she was born, my parents moved their whole world’s axis to include my kid. When we are in Tijuana, they are in Tijuana. When we are in the U.S., they are in the U.S. Wherever we are, my parents make it a point to be there. Wherever she is, that is their home. Wherever they are, that is my home. And so in this beautiful circle, her home is on the eastern coast of the U.S. because that happens to be where we have spent the most amount of time- and, for the time being, that is where her mom and dad and tita and tito are.
In a few months, bags packed, her Home will shift. And that’s ok, because her whole family will be there along for the ride. What is Home? Family.
How Do Others Define Home?
Want to find out how other traveling families define and describe their idea of Home? Check out Going Where The Wind Blows, Magnets From Everywhere, Lots Of Planets Have A North, WorldSchooler Exchange, Travel With Jess, and The Little Den. From feeling excitement every time they return home to experiencing reverse culture shock, these families have an amazing sense of all the emotions that Home can awaken.