Friday, July 08, 2005

What makes home?

Not a home. Just home. Home is, famously, where the heart is. But it's also where your stuff is. Is home a place, a building, or just a state of mind? And how does one decide.

As we travel to Portland this weekend to consider it as "home," I find myself thinking about my home here. Not the house, although I love that old place. But it's not mine. No, I think of home as where the people I love are. Where I know the best places to get pot stickers and used CDs. Where I know the backroads in case of traffic, where I have my favorite radio stations, where I have a doctor I trust, a dentist I like, and a favorite place to walk.

In order to be home, does home need all these things? If we left here, we'd have a house -- the one thing I've always, always wanted and the one thing that always, always seems impossible here. But would I have home? Is being able to paint walls, plant flowers and say "ours," worth not having anyone to invite to the housewarming party?

I don't want to go. But if I don't, I'm admitting to "never" in terms of a house. It seems ironic that poor people can, with help from the wonderful folks at Habitat for Humanity, achieve what I cannot do -- in spite of being gainfully employed at a salary that is overpaid compared to the rest of the world.

I feel like I'm in a no-win situation. If I stay I get to keep seeing the people I love, but I never get a house of my own. If I leave, I get the house, but I have to leave home. And yes, it's possible to make a new home, people do it all the time. But is it worth it?

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