I’ve accepted the fact that Kemaman will always be one of those places for me that never quite fits, that never quite makes the cut to being home. Blame it on the fact that it is pretty remote and local, so an outsider like me can hardly begin to feel a part of the rhythm of every day life here. I will always feel out of place, and I will always be asked where I’m from, and as long as I’m here I will surely be seen as “the other”. The fact that Kemaman will never be home in the sense that it will feel completely comfortable for me, a place I can take ownership in, a society I can have a place in, will not prevent me from having a sense of rootedness I’ve decided. Because afterall, what is home if it’s not being rooted? And what are you rooted in, really? I highly doubt it only boils down to a place for anybody.
Simply put, and not to diminish any of my other associations to the word, home is wherever I am with my husband. At the end of the day, this is where I find my rootedness. This has become especially important as our lives are currently in a state of flux and change as international expats for an X number of years, so the idea of calling a place a home isn’t appropriate for us, and while someday we probably will, the bottom line remains: home will always be the journey. It is the path you’re on and most importantly, who you’re on that path with.
As such, home is a state of mind, a connection to another person or a group of people, a shared sense of belonging. Home is not simply an empty structure or the neighborhood you grew up in – it’s the connections you made and sustained there that infuse it with a quality that is so permanent, so tied your deepest associations and memories that the place/space/person becomes inseparable from the concept of home, no matter where you may be. This simultaneously changes and stays the same over time, as we make new connections, form new relationships, create new memories, and spread new roots. Although this concept sometimes becomes confused for some, especially those that were born somewhere, raised somewhere else, have a cultural heritage of another place, and are living somewhere completely different – i.e; myself, this is when the true concept of home really becomes solidified and then one day you realize:
It was never really about a place at all.