The sun was setting, and we were in Paris. Patterns of pink and gold danced across the distant Eiffel Tower, the kind of surreal beauty that can only be found far away from home.
Soon, we entered the Paris Metro, the complicated subway system tangled beneath the city. As we boarded the train headed towards our hotel, the rich tones of French-speaking Parisians filled the small space. My dad turned to me as we clutched the central bars of the train.
“If you want to get off one stop early, we could probably find some dessert.” His English cut through the French chatter.
“Maybe…” I pondered. But as the miles of the day sank into my feet, I shook my head. “I think I just want to go home.” But, of course, we weren’t actually going home, we were going back to the hotel. Before I could correct myself, my dad had already nodded and turned away.
The rest of our trip was just as incredible as those first few days, and before I knew it, we were back home–for real. Yet somehow, I knew that home had followed me. Over an ocean and halfway across the world, leaving home was not so simple.
But when has it ever been?
I was born and adopted from China, so it wasn’t until I was ten months old that I first truly came home. China is my history, but Olympia is my home. In our first house, I learned to walk, talk, and read. It was home because my dad built it, all my toys were there, and from the inside out, it was brimming with love. In our second house, I learned to become me. It was home because it was where I laughed with friends, dutifully completed homework, and ate countless slices of pizza. Summers were carefree and filled by pitchers of sweet lemonade.
Today, my home is split–between my mom’s house and my dad’s house, it may seem like I have two halves of a home. But I know that no matter which house I go to, I will be greeted with a hot shower, warm covers, and a hug that says, “Welcome home.”
Home is something I carry with me. It’s not a country where I reside or a house that I live in. Home is the soft fabric of my favorite sweater and the smell of rain when I walk outside. Home is music and movement and memories of days gone by. I was able to find home in Paris because my home is not stagnant. It is something that adapts and evolves, and even though I make new homes and let old ones go, they are never truly gone. They collect, layering within my heart and becoming a part of me, so that wherever I go, home comes too.