What makes a home?

|Author: Tessa|

What makes a home?

I’ve been contemplating this seemingly daunting question for the past few days. On one hand, I could argue that Seattle is my home, and all of the evidence would agree with me. My physical residence is in Seattle, I’m enrolled in a master’s program in Seattle, even my cat is in Seattle. On the other hand, I’m half-way across the world in the city of Bangalore, and by the end of my time here, I will have spent nearly as much time in Bangalore as I have in Seattle: 3 months. Is 3 months enough time to consider someplace home?

I find myself in a peculiar position, where Seattle doesn’t quite feel like home yet, the place I’ve left behind in California feels just out of reach, and now, I’m in a totally new city—Bangalore. I’ve listened to my peers compare and contrast their homes to Bangalore, talk about being away for the first time, and in their words, I don’t find common ground. At first, this was an uncomfortable feeling, because I think it’s only human nature to want to relate to those around us.

The unsettling feeling of being out of place led me down what I like to call a rabbit hole—in which I found myself googling, “what makes a home?” Unsurprisingly, I found nicely itemized lists that cite happiness, love, and the sound of laughter, among other things. I found some level of agreement in all of the things listed on google; however, when thinking about the question further, I’m reminded of an article I read on the engineering mindset and thinking in systems.: it's an ability to see structures when nothing is apparent. Armed with a new mindset, I soon realize that home for me has never been a specific place or feeling, rather a culmination of experiences, people, and purpose.

I’ve been home in many places, including Seattle, and now Bangalore. Although, if I’m being honest, the friendships I’ve formed, my experiences, and time thus far in Bangalore have been nothing short of amazing. So much so, that I may reconsider whether or not home can be a specific place.

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