One of the things that I missed most in Malawi was being stationary. Once we left our house in the village, almost every other day was a travel day, which made living out of a backpack so much more frustrating. We re-packed nearly every day, and when we didn’t have a travel day, our packs exploded wherever we were staying for the night, forcing us to live with our things strewn across the floor. Needless to say, I kept my fingers crossed that lodges didn’t have the same scorpion-on-the-floor issue our house did.
By the time we climbed onto the plane that would take us out of Malawi, I couldn’t wait to get back to a closet and cupboards and a house where everything has its place. I wanted to be somewhere with familiar faces, places and things. I wanted to be home.
After a hot shower, the best Mexican food in town, and a full night of sleep in my heavenly bed, it only took about 5 seconds to realize that we didn’t know where home was going to be anymore. Despite our similar geographical origins, Russ and I started our adult lives in very different places, and now we didn’t know which one should or could or would be our place.
With all of the job searching and visits with friends and family time, I got more and more confused. Is it time to branch out and start something new? Is it time to settle down in an already comfortable place? What about our friends and family and could I take Piper (the best and most wonderful dog of all time) with me either way?
Then, like the angels they are, our friends and family reminded us of what home really means. It’s a place to share with those around you. A place to grow, a place to make memories, a place that is undefined by a geographical location. It exists in the love and happiness that you create wherever you are. Each morning that I woke up in Malawi, I felt like I was waking up at home. When I landed in Sacramento, I knew I was home. When we drove into Long Beach and were surrounded by people I had never met, I felt at home. We’re home when we’re together, no matter where that might be on a map, and we’re home in every town where someone knows and loves us.