My wife and I just came back from a 3-day trip over the weekend to Hamburg and if I’ve learned anything on this trip, it is this: home is a fluid concept.
Two years ago if you had asked me where is home, I would have told you without hesitating for a moment: Singapore. It’s where I was born and where I grew up. It was all I knew firsthand, apart from the short overseas vacations and a 1-month summer school in London.
But since I was very young, and my mum tells me this story all the time, I would plead to my parents about wanting to study and live abroad. So I had always wondered if it was possible to recognise a different city in another country as my home.
Our trip to Hamburg ended with a night train that chugged eastwards for two hours. When we finally unlocked the door to our apartment, I felt it. An unmistakable feeling of “I am home.” That surprised me because I hadn’t expected it, but it also wasn’t a surprise to me the moment I thought about it.
Home is the space where you go to rest, where your mind and heart and soul can be quiet and completely at ease. With my wife and dog stepping into the apartment that we furnished, configured, and made together, in a city where I know I’m always a stone’s throw away from serene green spaces that are free for use (and with good weather), where any medical emergency cannot impoverish me or my family, I know I am home.