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« Au fond, j’crois qu’la terre est ronde, pour une seule bonne raison, après avoir fait l’tour du monde, tout ce qu’on veut c’est être à la maison »



My Home?

The country I was born in

The country I live in

My family

The arms of my partner

A moment of laughter with my friends

Where the storeowner knows my name

Where people laugh at my jokes (not always an easy task, I tell you !)

A song

A smell

A word

« Where Are You From ? »

The easiest, smoothest way to start a conversation.

Where we come from tells a story,

Explains the accent,

Maybe gives a sneak peek into why we are here.

But «where are you from» doesn’t answer the question of «where is home».

Very different.


Hard to define.

In some languages, the word doesn’t even exist in all its complexity.

In french you would say «ma maison», or «chez soi»… It doesn’t really convey the wholeness of the word «home».

How Did They Do It?

The Lebanese civil war lasted for 30 years.

During this time, my father never left the country.

He kept on working, got promoted, met a woman, got married and had two girls (well, that escalated quickly! :) ).

All that, while living in a country at war.

But how, HOW did he do it?

Resilience, yes. But also, a feeling of belonging that no other country could offer.

He was part of the local tribe.

His mother was there, his friends were there, his memories were there.


Consider today’s refugees:

They have left their houses, the streets where they had their first kiss, the roundabout where they learned how to drive, the coffee shop where the owner knows how they take their coffee (long with sugar).

When, and if, they do come back, the country won’t look the same.

Destroyed. Transformed.

Will it still be their « home » country ?

Not at first.

But they can re-create a home feeling.

Through the community, the rituals, the colors, the tastes…

In any way, think about it: we can’t expect for the places we know to stay the same. Something will inevitably change, and even if it doesn’t, it is us who would have changed.

So I think we can safely say that home is a feeling, not a place.

Where Are We Now?

Most of our grand parents were born, raised, and lived their whole life in the same country. It was obvious and taken for granted that their home was the physical ecosystem around them.

Today we are in the world of the cultural mixes, of the easy(jet) travels, of the “digital nomads”, the “citizens of the world”, the “my-dad-is-lebanese-my-mom-is-german-i-was-born-in-the-US-and-i-live-in-London”.

This floating nation of emigrated people makes up the 5th largest nation in the world.

That’s a huge number.

Home has become a grey area.

And that’s a good thing!

We can have many homes.

We can have pieces of each home.

In sum, we have our own definition of home.


“What makes me myself rather than anyone else is the very fact that I am poised between two countries, two or three languages, and several cultural traditions. It is precisely this that defines my identity. Would I exist more authentically if I cut off a part of myself.”

In the Name of Identity – Amin Maalouf


What Should We Be Asking Then?

Let’s say that your parents are from Indian origin, but you were born and raised in France. So you look like an Indian, but have a French accent.

Very confusing to people you meet for the first time.

There are two potential outcomes to the « where are you from » conversation:

Outcome 1:

- I come from France

- But where do you REALLY come from?

Outcome 2:

- I come from India

- But how come you have such a good french accent?

So if we want to understand the daily life of a person, what we really should be asking is: Where are you a local?

Which city do you navigate with ease? The secret bars, the undiscovered shops…


Because, I can take away your passport but I can’t take away your experience.

So Now What?

Now you know that you are not the only one struggling with defining your home (yay!).

So whether this home feeling hits while crossing the perfume of your grandpa in the streets of New York, or while driving a friend home from a night out: hold on to it, embrace it, and smile, because the deep deep you has been awakened :)


« All they want is a home away from home »

Piers Faccini

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