When you're traveling or on vacation and you meet someone new, one of the first things people often ask is, "Where are you from?"
That's a question I struggle to answer.
Initially home was where I was born and spent the first 22 years of my life. When people asked where I was from, I had no problem answering that question.
But then I moved, and got my first 'real' job in a city where I spent the next 8 years planting roots. This is where I spent my 20's. It's where I lived while I figured out who I was as an adult. Even though I didn't realize it at the time; I did my growing up there: I started my career there, bought my first car and house there, made great friends, met my husband and got married there. It was home.
Until I moved.
My husband and I took a giant leap of faith and left Canada for an overseas adventure. I never, ever thought I'd consider Paris my home. It was so foreign to me that even saying I lived there felt weird coming out of my mouth. Nothing about it felt like home when I arrived.
With my husband gone during the day, I was lonely; missing my family, friends, job and my language. I felt like I was starting my life over from scratch. Maybe that's why this place became so special to me. Moving to Paris was a growing experience that challenged me in more ways than I can count! I learned to enjoy my own company, to speak French, drive standard, teach yoga, cook real food, drink French wine, and make new friends, all while living in one the world's most amazing cities. I cried when I arrived and cried when I left; both for different reasons.
Whenever I go back to Paris I can't help but feel at home. The familiar streets where I spent a part of my life that challenged me more than any other. I feel energized and excited just being in that city.
My most recent move brought me to a place that would once again change my life for the better. The latest place I call 'home' began the chapter in my life where I became a Mother. We started our family here and so far, it's the only home our kids have ever known. It needs no more reason than that to always have a special place in my heart.
With so many homes along the way you'd think the first one would have fallen to the wayside by now. It seems like forever since that was home, but after a recent visit that had me stay the longest I had since I lived there, I realized that it is just as much home as it ever was.
Home isn't an address, or where you make a rent or mortgage payment. Home is made up of memories and people.
I may miss out on having an easy answer when someone asks me where I'm from, but I feel blessed to have enough places that fill me with happiness to make me struggle with the question.
Home is wherever you make it.
Originally posted on Canadian Expat Mom.