Home was always the immediate place where I lived. The school, the house, the country. However, my home was constantly changing. I was born in Gatineau, Quebec to two loving and caring Canadian parents. My mom is of Scottish, Welsh and Irish descent and my dad is French and Ukrainian. Three weeks after I was born I left Canada and moved to Nigeria for 4 years, to Ethiopia for 3 years, to Vietnam for 5 years, to Malawi for 3 years, and now here.
For all my life I lived in a world where everyone was like me. I hopped from international school to international school where everyone else had a similar story. Born in one country, lived in a couple others. It was no big deal, it was rarely a topic of conversation. It wasn’t cool, it wasn’t weird, it was just how it was. At Pearson it’s different. The whole concept of “roots” really only came when I moved to Pearson. A place where the first question that people would ask was “where are you from?” with genuine interest to know your whole story. All of a sudden where you came from mattered. People proudly represent the country they come from, proudly speak the language, and proudly share the culture they know so well.
Orientation week was full of awkward conversations. “I’m Canadian, kinda”. It’s the “kinda” that invited all the questions. “So where are you actually from?” ,“Where’s Malawi?”, “Why do you move around so much?”. By the end of the week I had perfected my answer: “I’m Canadian but I’ve spent most of my life in Africa”. In Malawi, “Canadian” was the word I used to explain why I was white, but here it’s accompanied with a complete origin story. It would be great if I had something deep and meaningful to say about the life I’ve lived, but I don’t. This is just my reality. I don’t know what it’s like to grow up in the same town my whole life and I’ve never had a problem with that.
That being said, being here has definitely redefined my idea of home. Home is my brother who is now in university having the time of his life. Home is my little sister who just lost her last tooth. Home is my dad who is possibly the funniest man alive. Home is my mom who is the most powerful women I know. Home has never been a physical place, it was always my family who traveled with me.