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Finding Your Way Home

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On any given day I'll come across a few articles on the social network dedicated to this topic of 'The Twenties.' It's a funny thing, being in my early twenties. The twenties hubris is the tragic and triumphant comedy of errors that happens after college -- things like dating, paying one's own taxes, and using the term "responsible" semi-sensibly. These moments are funny, but they can also be serious to us in private. So I laugh to ease the tension, because these are the little bits of life's idiosyncrasies that I am trying to decipher. Today, I'm going to talk about Home.

Being in my early twenties is essentially like being a nomad. I'm not really sure how or where I'll settle but I sense that progress is essential to survive. There have already been some geographical candidates -- Los Angeles, Princeton, New York City, the Venice Buddhist Temple on Braddock Drive in Venice, California. These are places where the faces know my name and the buildings have significance.

Home to me connotes a sense of familiarity and nostalgia. I heard Toni Morrison speak the other day and she describes home as "a perpetual longing" and "a place where no is out to get you." David Fincher's The Curious Case of Benjamin Button examines the role of one man's home during the course of a single lifetime. As Benjamin states, "It's a funny thing about coming home. Looks the same, smells the same. You'll realize what's changed is you." Home is where we can quantify and qualify pain, love, and a bevy of other experiences: We broke up here. My parents met here. I won three championships here.

If I close my eyes, I can still navigate my first Home. I walk in the door and see a brown corduroy couch surrounding a low glass-top wooden table. To the right of the living room is my first bedroom. It's bare, but it's where my earliest memories are. I see myself at age six, belting out Disney tunes alone in front of the mirror. I can see the fire alarm I mischievously pulled out of pure curiosity -- causing the fire department to come to my house, and then having to do the walk of shame to tell the fireman it was my fault.

I wander into our small kitchen, and I see the cabinet doors left open, cans thrust all over after the 1995 earthquake. We were out of town that day but rushed home to assess the surprisingly minimal damage to our home.

There is the dining room table where I celebrated several birthdays, and where I cried on Halloween -- when I didn't want to wear the devil costume my mother made for me. I always liked standing on that table because it made me feel tall and strong.

If I sit at this table, I can peek into my favorite room in the house, my parent's room. It is carpeted with the speckled gray stock carpet often found in offices. I walk in through a mirrored hallway that doubles as a closet and I spend hours staring at myself through the double mirrors, wondering where the image behind me disappears to as it curves out of sight.

My parents' room is simple; a brown Japanese tansu (wooden cabinet) lines the right side of the wall next to a boxy television and a couple of portraits of my grandparents on each side. Their bed is my safe zone. I can jump on it anytime -- waking up my parents if I am scared or if I have an important announcement that cannot wait until the morning. Often times I request to sleep on a futon in the room. It is crimson red and fits like a Tetris piece next to my mother's side of the bed.

I'm lucky because I know my first Home still exists. It exists in my mind and heart, on a physical property on West 64th street on the western edge of Los Angeles. It is proof I lived, I grew, and I learned. It is proof that my parents had the courage to fall in love and buy a house, filling it with hopes and dreams.

Sometimes when I feel lost, I lie down and shut my eyes, and I go Home. I know it's where I'll find my family, my dogs, and my belongings. I purposely leave the window open at night because I know I'll get in trouble. "TANI ERIN," Mom will say. But I don't mind. I just want to hear her say my name. It reminds me I'm home.

And maybe another day or even later, I will put my things down, and know the same feeling, that I am Home.