When Does a Home Stop Feeling Like One?

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For a few weeks, I went back home to the Philippines for the Christmas and New Year. I was there for three weeks and although the first one was boring, my last few weeks were fun and full of pictures. This was not the first time I have come back since I’ve left.

I left the Philippines in 2013. Up until 2018, my goal had always been to come home and visit. I had plans to visit many different places, with my grandma in tow. I already booked my ticket for May 2018, perfect for her birthday. But I did not even get to tell her that because she died on February 2018. It was a heartbreaking trip home. It was not the kind of coming home that I was hoping for. After that, my desire to go home again for another vacation lessened. The only person that gave me the biggest motivation to come home was my grandma.

Fast forward 2019, my mom and I had decided to come home for the holidays. It had been five years since I have not celebrated Christmas in the Philippines and I was quite excited. However, the moment I landed on NAIA, I didn’t feel excitement that I finally came back to the motherland. I thought maybe I was just tired. Then when I finally reached Cagayan de Oro, I did not feel any excitement that I thought I would have. I was not excited to see all these familiar buildings and roads. Even when I was walking through the mall that I used to frolic at or at Divisoria where I used to wait for Jeepneys at, I didn’t feel any excitement. Nostalgia, yes, but excitement, no.

Philippines is very hot, Canada is very cold. But I think I thrive better in the colder climate since I tend to sweat too much and you don’t really sweat a lot during winter. There have been many times when I told myself, “I want to go home”. Home as in Canada. I’ve never thought I’d officially call Canada home since I was so stubborn about being loyal to the motherland. But Canada had given me so much opportunity to become the best version of myself. I have learned how to be independent and be my own person. Over the years, I have re-evaluated what home is.

When it was time to come back to Canada, I was excited. The moment we landed at Vancouver, I was excited to see familiar surroundings like the Hudson’s News and Tim Hortons. I finally go to just tap my credit card again and order my large 3 milk 3 sugar coffee. Canada feels more familiar now. Edmonton is now my new stomping ground. I can tell you where to go or places to eat or where some obscure places are. I can’t tell you about those things in Cagayan de Oro. Canada is now my home, the Philippines is now more like a neighbouring house I know I can always visit.

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