Everyone has their own definition of “home.”
Home is not necessarily the place you were born or the place where you spent any particular part of your life. Home is where you made your favorite moments; where you felt the most comfort and peace.
My parents came to this country roughly 39 years ago; a decision that wasn’t easy, but was the right one. Over the years they built their home here with blood, sweat, and tears—the home they love. Coming to a new country didn’t mean leaving behind their traditions or memories, but it did mean seeking and discovering opportunities to bring their culture and traditions to an unfamiliar setting.
It wasn’t easy traveling to a strange land with different ideas and norms, but they did it anyway. Despite the stereotypes they faced and their lack of opportunity due to a language barrier, they worked tirelessly to create a home for themselves in a place that held more promise than where they previously lived.
Not knowing English was only the first hurdle they overcame. It was more difficult to find work without English fluency, but that never slowed their determination. My parents persistence led them to paid work every day of their lives. They only broke their streaks as their age finally caught up with them. My dad began as a dishwasher at a restaurant. Eventually, he open a restaurant of his own. My mom cleaned offices until she secured a job at a factory with better hours. This allowed her to spend time at the home she and my father made, raising me and my siblings.
Home is not the structure that shelters you or the items you furnish and fill it with. Home is people, memories, and the effort you put into both. My parents built a place where we created memories together; a place where we retreated when life had us down; a place where we laughed in the kitchen for hours over plates piled high with so much food that we were full for days—a place that was always safe.
My parents were born in another country and may always be looked at as foreigners, but this country, this state, this town, this house—this is their home.