Culture Shock: Where is a person’s home?

Home is a key word in the whole “culture shock” pavillion. Where is a person’s home? What defines it? Level of comfort? Professional/financial opportunities? Quality of life? Living amongst the people who mean the most to us?

Considering the phrase “Home is where you are understood” helps us both close in on and complicate the matter. If home truly is “where I am understood”, can there really be such a place of eternal and uncomplicated understanding? And once a person has lived substantial amounts of time in two (or more) different countries doesn’t he/she get too complicated to be understood just by one country alone? Example: While in Greece you enjoy going to “Panerythraikos” to get your junk food. Souvlaki defines junk food for you, souvlaki understands you. Once in the DC/VA/MD tri-state area you get to enjoy Ray’s Hell Burger. Hell yeah, it doesn’t serve fries, but even the President suffered it so why shouldn’t you? So junk food gets redefined. It is no longer a strip of meat inside a tzatziki filled pita. It is a fatty juicy burger between two fat buns. Two different shapes, two juicy pictures in the head, two equally satisfying junk food options.

Now imagine this: It’s Sunday night, your favorite movie of all times is playing on tv, you haven’t had junk food for days and you are seriously craving some. What comes to mind? Remember, it’s not your first day back in either country. No. You haven’t missed anything. Not making it any easier on you. You have enjoyed both equally on different occasions. And now you are stuck. You don’t know what you want. You are trying to decide upon a craving -so what sort of a craving is it if you are trying to decide on it? Point is, your level of familiarity with both souvlaki and burger is equal. They both understand you, on their own little levels. So what gives?

Home. Home is a tricky word. We all want to go home and feel safe. But what is it that brings safety about? If it is familiarity, what happens when you aquire an equal amount of familiarity with a second “home”? And can you have multiple homes?


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