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Since last week I am finally back to my apartment in Palo Alto, doing laundry, shopping groceries, taking out garbages, and loving every minute of it.  As my work requires me to be on the road most of my time, I have grown to really appreciate being still at home while it lasts.

But what is home?  It could be a place where I hold my residency, which is here in Palo Alto.  I live here in a sense that I have all of my belongings in place and a lease contract to an apartment that allows me to “settle in”.  But I have lived here merely for a year now and for 8 months out of that one year I spent my time else where.  So do I really live here?

Or home could be where I come from.  In Japan I have all the comfort from my friends and family, where I can remind myself that I am loved and cared, which leads me to fully appreciate my life.  Meanwhile, this is a place I left behind when I was 16 to see the world and become something wonderful.  It is a place I look back and realize how far I came so far, and yet how much I still need to go to get to what I dreamed to be.  I also have a piece of my heart left in New York where I spent 15 years of my life growing up, being adventurous, and sometimes learning things in hard ways.  Ever since I arrived in Summer of 1992, the city took me by hand and expanded my horizon to the endless diversity of the world, and I never looked back.  But these are all in contrast to where and what I am now.  I imagine home to be something that represent me in present, so what is home?

Pico Iyer explains in the TED Talk below, the home should be something more than a location for the nation of “places away from where you’re from”.   Something that allows you to go back to your true self and be still, and in that sense it doesn’t have to be a place but anything that leads you to where your heart is.

It is soothing to think that I can be home at any moment by stopping to recollect myself, and it is soothing because it holds truth for me.  I like that Iyer identifies this nation of no significant place because we can be a lonely bunch with less sense of belonging.  I like to think that having my inner sanctuary will allow me to be home, but I would also imagine it would be much more fulfilling to have someone to share it.

Having said that, I’m not sure if I’ve ever been truly home since I left where I’m from.  I know now that it is not a location in physical sense, but more about where my heart stands.  It can be a lot of places – but knowing it is where is starts, so I can get there.

So what is home, I think I know.  I just have to learn how to get there.