It’s been three months since I’ve established “home” in Berkeley. People have kindly asked how the re-entry has been. The phases of cultural transition are still the same. I’ve felt all of this before. In America, it’s about getting used to the fact that there are an obscene numbers of cereal rows to consider, that having an app for practically everything really can simplify life, and that knowing what Miley Cyrus is up to is common knowledge.
I won’t lie. I kinda freaked out.
The idea of just sliding back into North American life proved silly. I thought I’d have that ah-ha moment; something like: finally, coming full circle to land in the place I’ve left loving and still love. Finally, home.
Yet, it has not been that simple. I was naive to think so. I’ve questioned over and wondered about and ached a bit for my overseas life. Twelve years is twelve years, after all.
The turning point, however, happened with this easy realization: no place is perfect.
From then on (which has been about four weeks now), I’ve embraced this place. Or, maybe it’s more than the place. Maybe I’ve come to embrace where I am in life and what’s ahead.
I watched this TED talk a little while back. With grace, charm, and introspection, Pico Iyer delves into the relevant question: What is home?
Is it the cul du sac you and your sister rode bicycles in? Is it the city your parents still live in? Is it the place you pay rent or the location with your fondest memories?
According to Iyer, it’s something much, much more.