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You Can't Go Home
(if you don't know where home is)

This past summer, I took my annual 'home leave'. Right from the start, it was an interesting trip.
Five weeks in six cities. Yokohama, Honolulu, San Jose, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and Singapore.

So which one is home? Good question.
In fact, I'm not even sure what 'home leave' is anymore.

Does it mean that I'm leaving home or that I'm leaving for home?
Or is home leaving me?

Sounds like a recipe for an identity crisis, but in fact, my problem is quite the opposite.
On this journey, each time I set down my suitcase, I felt the warm familiarity of 'home'.

Glenns' Wonderings

In Yokohama, it's the sound of the Japanese language, the taste of miso soup, and the depth of an ancient culture.
In Honolulu, it's the mix of cultures, the smell of ocean breezes, and the aloha feeling.
In San Jose, it's the voices of old friends, the classic California weather, and the 'work hard play hard' mentality of Silicon Valley.
In San Francisco, it's brilliant architecture/art/food, and the sheer exhilaration of knowing that anything could be around the corner.
In Pittsburgh, it's the sight of my parents, the licks of our dog, and the smell and taste of Mom's food.
In Singapore, the feel of the humid air, the scent of tropical flowers, and the feel of our own bed.

So, which is Home?

Pittsburgh - Where my parents live?
Watertown - Where I grew up?
Columbus - Where I met Angie and went to college?
San Jose - Where I worked for five years and owned a house?
Japan - Where I lived in three cities over four years?
Singapore - Where I've lived for the past two years?

When in doubt, I always say, a good dictionary can't hurt.
So, I pulled out my dictionary and searched for the meaning of home.
Then, I figured, I could answer the question.

-A place where one lives; a residence.
That would be Singapore, in the present tense. Or somewhere else tomorrow....
-The native habitat, as of a plant or animal.
Uhh, earth? America. New York.
-An environment offering security and happiness.
Certainly my parents house in Pittsburgh would qualify for this.
As would the arms of Angie, the woman I love.
Or any room that plays good loud music and pours strong Long Island Ice Teas.
-A valued place regarded as a refuge or place of origin.
Watertown, NY.
Any sandy beach with warm water is a refuge for me.
-The place, such as a country or town, where one was born or has lived for a long period.
Born in Niles, Michigan.
Raised in Watertown.
Define 'Long' - this could include Columbus, California, and Japan.
-The place where something is discovered, founded, developed, or promoted; a source.
I have never spent more than 15 minutes in a place without discovering something there. In that respect, every place I have ever been is home.
-A headquarters; a home base. To go or return to one's residence or base of operations.
San Jose is the headquarters of the company I work for, and going there always feels something like home.

I would modify these to come up my definition of home:

Home is a place that meets all of the following
1. is a  place of discovery or development,
2. that evokes/involves the five senses,
3. and has both taken something from you and left something with you - forever.

So, back to the original question. Where do I call home?
Well, everyplace I've ever been has taught or formed me.
I'm a sucker for food, music, art, and nature.
And I make a lot of friends who give me memories and lessons, then take a piece of my heart.

So the old saying is right. Home is where the heart is...

For me that's Watertown, Columbus, San Jose, Japan, Singapore, and Pittsburgh.
And Thailand, Bali, China, San Francisco, Monterey, Vermont, Baja, Vietnam, and about a dozen other places.

I guess I'm just lucky.
Some people wander for years, never finding home.
I've wandered for years, and never left home.

GH 10/98
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