The dictionary definition of the word home (according to dictionary.com) is essentially a place of permanent residence. Permanent residence. That’s a concept that’s starting to grow alien to me with every passing day. Ever since I entered college, I’ve been unable to hold residence anywhere for any significant period of time.
A word of disclaimer, before I proceed with this piece. For the sake of argument, I’m going to assume I’ve held residence at a given address if I’ve been at a given location for a calendar month or longer. I use this definition for several reasons. First, they say it takes the body 1 day per hour difference in time. Second, a month is usually the point in time when you begin to acclimate to a new environment, based on personal experiences. Third, you usually pay rent by the month. This is why I’ve come to use the month as my yard stick to determine residency at any given location.
By this definition, The longest I’ve held residence at a given address would have to be 4 months. And that was because the semester was 4 months long.
Don’t get me wrong. I have a place I would strictly refer to as home should the need arise. That would be my home in Toronto. But there’s a reason I’ve decided against such an act. For starters, it’s a home under my parent’s ownership, and thus, I feel no vested ownership towards the address. I hold nostalgic value to it, yes, but no financial, and thus, future, value. But there’s a much bigger issue that makes me reluctant to call it my home.
As mentioned in my previous entry, cities have a voice. Rather, they give off an atmosphere that reacts with the aura people have. That reaction is the reason why people move around in search of the place they belong. Unfortunately, Toronto is a city that negatively reacts with me every time I try returning. And it’s not a new issue. It’s a recurring one. It’s been a burden on my shoulders since middle school, the age when I began to open my eyes to the greater world.
When I was in grade 6, my family and I made our first ever family trip to the United States. This was, perhaps, the first time I knew there were more countries than the one I was born in, and the one I grew up in. I went to New York, the city I would ultimately end up calling home during my college years (though there were many, many address changes during that time, which I will explore in a future entry), Boston, Washington DC, among other major cities along the US east coast. It was this trip that first made me realize I had a choice in the world when it came to choosing a home.
But the catalytic moment came when I was in grade 8. It was the first time in 6 years that I went back to South Korea, my country of birth. And it was life changing. Never have I seen a city so vibrant, so dynamic, so exciting. This was in stark contrast to Toronto. And it was the moment my lingering issues with Toronto began to manifest into concrete concepts describable in words.
I longed for the fast paced, exciting life, in which no one day was like the other. I wanted to live in a place where everyday brought with it a brand new set of challenges for me to go through. Where I can occupy myself with things that made me feel happy. Unfortunately, that was as far as I had gotten in organizing my thoughts before my senior year. It was time for me to choose where I wanted to be for the next chapter in my life. And, after much debate, I ended up choosing New York.