Where is home?


We’ve been asked,

Where is home for you?

6 years ago today, we locked our house front door in Japan and boarded the bus to Nagoya. Less than 24 hours later, we boarded the plane bound for Dubai.

We came here to ‘test’ our life in the desert, with no immediate decision how long we’ll stay. We didn’t know anyone except for some people in my company whom I met for my interview only once.

It’s strange how places feel like home, even if they aren’t your ‘home country‘. Especially after six years. For me, home is where my loved ones are. Home is my happy place and that for me, right now, is here in our apartment in Dubai.

We have a house in Japan where we only lived for a year before we left it to tenants. I wasn’t even finished picking the right things for it to make me feel it’s mine (ours). There were no curtains on the empty room window upstairs. It’s been rented out so we can’t stay there whenever we’re there (and the last time we all were in Japan was four long years ago!). We stay at my in-laws in rural Japan but I don’t feel it’s ‘home’ for us because we never stay there more than a week at a time. And by some sort of cosmic joke, one of us gets sick when we’re there.

As an expat parent, I was curious and asked my child where home is for her.

Her answer came fast and was simple, “Here“.

She was born in Japan but we left when she was three. Now nine years old, she has spent more time here than there. And I doubt if she has that much recollection of life and way of living in Japan except that you have to use the Japanese language wherever you go and whatever you do. Oh and that glorious Japanese hot baths (I miss that too), she remembers them well.

Pristine has only been to the Philippines (the country where I grew up) three times – first time when she was 16 months old, again when she was 3 and the last time was four years ago. She barely remembers the place and I doubt she considers my parent’s home as ‘home’ for her.

(Baby Ben on the other hand has not been to other places than Dubai, where he was born on October 2011. He has not been to any of his parent’s ‘home countries’ yet. )

So our answer to the above question is the same as our daughter, “here”. This quote is so true:

“Your true home is in the here and the now.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Are you an expat? Where do you call ‘home’?


  1. I’m not an expat, but have lived for short periods around the world. For me, Falmouth Massachusetts will always be home. That is where I was born and raised. I know every street and every beach and every church. I do not go back often, but it is home. Where I live now with Hubby is our home. When he is gone, I will sell our house and move. I have no great affection for this place.



  2. This is a difficult question. I guess I have a life like your daughter: born somewhere, moved somewhere else and been to my home-country only twice. I have grown to feel ‘at home’ here in Dubai, but I do pine for a place I can call my land.



  3. I felt pretty bad too when we left our new house in India to move to Dubai. We’ve only been here for over two years but I think ‘home’ is where one’s roots are.



  4. It’s amazing how life can change so rapidly and the places or people who were in your life change from time to time. I’ve only lived in one other state aside from Illinois when I was around 9 years old and at the time, that was home. Now home is back in Illinois, different house but same concept.

    I have to tend to agree with you; home is not only where you physically are, but home is also where love resides 🙂



  5. I’ve always made it a point that my home is where I dwell, where I live. And put effort in it. That way, getting “homesick” is not something I had really experienced. Since I was 16 and went to college, I had lived quite on my own and didn’t went through the students’ weekend exodus to be back to parents’ home 🙂

    UAE too had been my home for almost 6 years now 🙂



  6. When we went for vacation in Canada last summer, we went for a tour at CN Tower, while in the lift with other tourist, the lady who was working there ask us if where were from and automatically I answered Dubai, maybe because I’ve been living here for 13 years, got married and had kids here so for me home is Dubai even though my home country is Philippines…



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