what is home anyway

i am sitting here in the front desk of a hostel in india. there is sweat dripping down my popliteal and bugs sticking to it. rawr.

last semester, we had a guest lecturer in one of our classes (these happen a lot when some professors get lazy), and the first question he asked us is: what do you call home? i believe i've blogged about this idea before, but i'm going to expound my thoughts again as i've had this swirling around my head and it's about hurricane size, ready to explode.

the question really bothered me. and then it bothered me that the question bothered me. why would i tell a stranger what i considered home? and why did it matter? what if i don't really have a place i call home?

at the time he asked me, i had living in arizona about a month and was already struggling with this during introductions. here's how a normal converastion would go at the beginning:

attractive stranger boy: oh you just moved here? what's your name?
me: brook.
where are you from? california.
what part? bay area.
oh cool! do you know, so and so? nope, i haven't lived there since HS.
oh, so where did you live before? draper, ut.
....ASB introduces me to his friend: this is brook from ut!


so then my answer started being, from CA, but lived in UT seven years. then that was too much and people would start glazing over, because let's face it--no one really cares. so then i would say UT, but i hated claiming it, no matter how much i loved my time there. ultimately, it bothered me because if they only took the time to really find out, they'd know i was born in hawaii, lived in japan, am half chilean (and therefore half of my heart remains there), lived in LA, northern california, extended stays in central/south america, provo (uff!), draper, and scottsdale. and now here i sit calling hyderabad, india, my home for the next few months of my life.

so i know you're all dying to know what i told the guest lecturer: i told him, home is where my family and friends are. the more i think about it, the more i wonder, what is it with us humans and wanting to define somewhere we "belong?" it is more than home that we are seeking, i've concluded. when we are answering this question, we are identifying in one way or another. i would not claim UT, because i refuesed to identify with the stereotypes. we are choosing to categorize ourselves by where we say we were raised, brought up, etc.and it envokes in us a sense of pride, embarrassment, work ethic, and stamps unto us a whole set of values, core beliefs, accent, dialect, skin color, sometimes religion, and way of thinking. home is more than just a physical, tangible border. home is an essense, a person, a being.

anyway, i'm glad i have that off my chest now. i will continue to give the answer that home is where my friends and family are, because i have become such a cocktail of all the parts and pieces of where i've lived it would be impossible to name one place as home anyway. i love each and every place i've lived for the things it's taught me and for the pieces i've taken from it, and more importantly for the relationships i've formed there.

anyway, i'm excited to see where i will be calling home here in the next 36 hours. daunting, and thrilling all at the same time. 

love and miss you all.


Amy Lovell said...

Ha, I'm from Utah but I don't like to tell people that, I just kindly remind them, "but I haven't lived there for awhile!" The funny thing is, people (not mormon's anyway) get excited when they find out I'm from Utah, they rave about how beautiful it is there, and then I think, hmm, maybe it's not so bad of a place to claim.

Hope you're loving your time in India, I'm jealous of all of your travels.

Matt said...

Haha love this post. While in Arizona I would tell people I am from Idaho because, let's face it, I really am. I would also mainly say that to avoid any of the Utah stereotypes. To this day I tell people I am an Idaho boy and will no matter where end up as it shaped me more than any other place I've lived.

Have a great time in India!

HilaryM said...

Love you Brook! I guess you have a home in Austin then because "I" am here ha. Thanks for the thought provoking "home" question. I now have some thinking of my own to do!

Steph said...

Dude, I have totally been thinking about this topic lately and have been trying to draft a blog post about it. Not because I moved around a lot, but because the opposite is true for me! I was born and raised in small town Spanish For, UT. I went to college in Provo for 5 years, got married and bought a house in Lehi. Super typical right? Then we moved to Brazil and everything changed. And it's great! I am so glad we are here. And that's left me thinking about what is really "home" as well. My family is ALL in Utah, and I'll always love visiting there. But for me, Brazil is just as much home for me right now, if not more, because this is where my husband and little girl and growing baby boy are. This is where life is right now and I wouldn't have it any other way. Great post. You've inspired me to re-visit my own blog draft.

Mami said...

Home has always been with us!! no question about it. I guess I feel a little guilty about giving you so many places and making it difficult for you to define home for the sake of others to understand... ha ha. We are a fixed, stereotype society. So I have an accent and everyone wants to know where my accent is from. My problem is that they don't even care about who I am, they just want to know about the accent!! Couldn't our first questions be: What is your name? what things you like to do? do you enjoy this "place"? would you like to do something together? But, no, instead we want to bag people in some kind geographic place, skin color, religion, etc. This post did push a button! I tell others I am from Chile!! I have not been there for 28 years. I lived there only until I was 23, but it does not change where I grew up and what formed my personality the most. I love you. I hope that India becomes another dear place in your heart.

Brooke E said...

Totally understand. I moved around a ton until I was 5, and then I did exactly half of my school years in Iowa and the other half in Oklahoma. Then to UT, then back to OK, and now in the Bay Area. I have never loved claiming Oklahoma, but I usually do just because it's easier and it's where my parents still live. and if everything in my life broke and I had to go somewhere easy, that would be the easiest base. But really, that's my only logic for claiming Oklahoma. There's nowhere I've been long enough that I totally identify with it.

Allison said...

We've moved a lot in the past few years and this helps define how I feel! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

brook dorff said...

thanks!! i was happy to see so many other people understood my thoughts and feelings.

gaijindude said...

I wrote a great comment and it didn't post.

gaijindude said...

Oh that worked. Now I have to try and recreate this.
People these get the fact that people don't stay in one place. You can give the answer that fits with what the conversation you want to have with them. If you say Utah, it will go to school and church. If you say California, it will go to whom you know because there are so many people there and we all know each other. If you say Arizona, it will go to weather. If you say Hawaii it will go to vacations and fun. If you say Chile or Japan, it will probably go to ethnicity or employment. It's like when people as what you do for a living. It could what your job is now or what you did a year ago or what you've mostly done or what you wish you were doing. You get to decide where you want the conversation. That's why people usually say "Where do YOU call home?" They're giving YOU the chance to make the call on where you want the conversation to go. It's like when people ask how you're doing. You don't usually go into your medical history or psychological discord unless it's a close friend or parents. I think when people ask you where you're from, you ought to just say, "I left my home when I was born, but I carry a little around with me. I gather a little more everywhere I go and leave a little scattered around when I leave. Brook, where you are is home, as you said. Wish I were with you.

Viviana said...

Oh Brookie, did you see your dad's last comment? :)