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Rarely do members of the same family grow up under the same roof. - Richard Bach, Illusions
This weekend, millions will begin the homeward-bound journey for the holidays on board planes, trains and automobiles. It's also the time of year where many contemplate what "home" and "family" really means to them.

There was an interesting story this morning on KUOW, my local NPR station. They interviewed a Greek-American family who left Greece after WWII and settled in Seattle, WA. A few years ago, the family, along with their American-born children and grandchildren, returned to live in the village they left, only to find much change had taken place: faces from new immigrant races.

They also found something they didn't expect: when they are in Greece, they think of Seattle and vice versa. In the story, the interviewer said that academics have coined a name for people who commute between countries: transnationals. This was a surprise, for in economics the word has a very different meaning.

This got me thinking. What makes a person a transnational? Do they have more than one home? What happens during the holidays? And how does one define family if the members are far-flung across the planet?

My parents fled China in 1949, settled in Taiwan, then Hong Kong and then immigrated to Canada in 1973. I grew up here, but never fit in with the locals, white or Chinese. At the time, there were few post-CN Rail Chinese immigrants, and practically no statuesque Northerners like me. It was like being in the Twilight Zone.

My brothers and sisters live in the U.S. and in France. Even though one of my sisters is "coming home" next week with her husband and toddlers, wouldn't they be better off to stay in California? After all, the headcount of family members on his side outnumber hers by 25:1.

There are lots of questions. Can a village, city or even a country be considered home? What if all your stuff is in storage and you're on the road, living out of a suitcase? Does that make you homeless? Is having the resources to secure safe shelter the only difference between a transnational and a displaced person or a refugee? Can a dwelling be considered home? Is family the people found inside a dwelling? Or do they actually have to choose each other?

I guess there will be a lot of time to ponder as I sit on an airplane on Boxing Day, headed off to countries where I don't speak a word of the local language ... yet. Could I be a transnational in the making, or is this a euphemism for not really belonging anywhere? Maybe home is ... where one is always welcome. Perhaps family is ... a collection of people who accept us as we are. And maybe the word transnational should be left to its original meaning, because hopefully, we are all citizens of the world.
HedgeFundGuy meinte am 13. Dec, 21:30:
Home is where you are most comfortable. Hopefully, it's where you currently live, but anyone recently relocated will feel uncomfortable (or not totally relaxed) in their current environs. This is why it's especially nice to be welcoming to those in flux. I'll never forget a friend who invited me over for Thanksgiving when I was stuck away from 'home'. 
Dave Tufte (guest) meinte am 14. Dec, 17:53:
There are Conflicted Transregionals Too
I grew up very devoted to my "hometown" of Buffalo, New York, in a family that was extremely devoted to it.

Late in graduate school it dawned on me that if I wanted to be a serious academic, I would have to move away, more or less permanently. But I've stayed in the U.S., which makes me a trans-regional (although I've moved more miles that most transnationals within Europe ever would).

I was young when I got my Ph.D., and well-off because of my economics degree, so I didn't have to confront this issue too much: it was easy to "go home" for a month or six-weeks. This probably made me less attached to Alabama (where I was for 2 years), or Utah (for one). But, in Louisiana, we stayed for over 8 years, and those long trips "home" got to be fewer and further between.

We eventually gave up on our love/hate relationship with New Orleans and moved back to Utah. That's about 7,000 miles of moving, spread over 4 job changes, and 12 years.

This is now home. Even though we are not Mormon, and so don't quite fit in, this is the place (for non-Mormons, there is a Utah related pun in there).

Yet, our families in Buffalo still wonder when we will "come home". It's been 17 years now. It isn't going to happen. That concept seems to elude them though - they view our home as where they are, rather than where we are.

The upshot of all this is that I think the longing for home reflects our attachments and level of restlessness. For Teresa, it doesn't seem like you've ever felt "home"; I think this means you are not a transnational or trans anything ... just some sort of resident. On the other hand, the Greek family sounds like a transnational.

Yet, I think the front-end and back-end of your post give a general answer. Bachman suggested that different people don't "grow up" under the same roof. Buf if you go elsewhere to grow up, then you have changed from those you left behind. This makes it very hard for them to be part of a home where you will always feel welcome. So, if moving changes you enough (or the ones you left behind enough), then home is no longer where you started out. 
Teresa_Lo antwortete am 14. Dec, 20:56:
Thanks for the ...
wonderful story of your wanderings and how you settled on a new home.

You are right about being a resident. Perhaps there is another issue, that of "belonging". For example, one can be "home" and don't belong there, yet there is actually some upside of being a "global resident" in that I can go anywhere and never feel out of sorts. 
Wolf (guest) meinte am 14. Dec, 19:58:
Home is where I want it to be. It is beetween my ears. No more but also no less. 
murali (guest) antwortete am 14. Dec, 20:48:
home ??
Very sensitive topic, and very difficult to answer

We are from india and have lived there for 38 years. I have moved with family to London on a long term assignment with an Indian Software company. I know that if i stay a few more years i can build a good career based out of London

At the moment we are just not comfortable taking a decision like this. Too much sentimental attachment. I am not able to redefine myself into anything but being "Indian" in "India". Just the thought of anything else is scary

It is very nice and precious to have roots 
wolf (guest) antwortete am 15. Dec, 21:03:
home ??
Dear Murali,
I have thought about your answer for a while.

Somehow I can perceive your feelings a little bit. I (German Citizen) did live in the U.S. for 5 years and I did not feel home. I liked it back in the seventies, but in my true heart I felt German.

In Germany, however, I do not have a feeling of home at any place in particular. Where I lived I liked it. There is one exeption to this, however. Whenever I am close by my place of birth, an old house, no steril hospital, I like to drive by and it feels somehow cozy.

But I guess this is another "between the ears" occurence. 
dave s. (guest) meinte am 19. Dec, 16:17:
Frost had it right
Mary sat musing on the lamp-flame at the table
Waiting for Warren. When she heard his step,
She ran on tip-toe down the darkened passage
To meet him in the doorway with the news
And put him on his guard. 'Silas is back.'
She pushed him outward with her through the door
And shut it after her. "Be kind," she said.
She took the market things from Warren's arms
And set them on the porch, then drew him down
To sit beside her on the wooden steps.
'When was I ever anything but kind to him?
But I'll not have the fellow back,' he said.
'I told him so last haying, didn't I?
"If he left then," I said, "that ended it."
What good is he? Who else will harbor him
At his age for the little he can do?
What help he is there's no depending on.
Off he goes always when I need him most.
'He thinks he ought to earn a little pay,
Enough at least to buy tobacco with,
won't have to beg and be beholden."
"All right," I say "I can't afford to pay
Any fixed wages, though I wish I could."
"Someone else can."
"Then someone else will have to.
I shouldn't mind his bettering himself
If that was what it was. You can be certain,
When he begins like that, there's someone at him
Trying to coax him off with pocket-money, --
In haying time, when any help is scarce.
In winter he comes back to us. I'm done.'

'Shh I not so loud: he'll hear you,' Mary said.

'I want him to: he'll have to soon or late.'

'He's worn out. He's asleep beside the stove.
When I came up from Rowe's I found him here,
Huddled against the barn-door fast asleep,
A miserable sight, and frightening, too-
You needn't smile -- I didn't recognize him-
I wasn't looking for him- and he's changed.
Wait till you see.'

'Where did you say he'd been?

'He didn't say. I dragged him to the house,
And gave him tea and tried to make him smoke.
I tried to make him talk about his travels.
Nothing would do: he just kept nodding off.'

'What did he say? Did he say anything?'

'But little.'

'Anything? Mary, confess
He said he'd come to ditch the meadow for me.'


'But did he? I just want to know.'

'Of course he did. What would you have him say?
Surely you wouldn't grudge the poor old man
Some humble way to save his self-respect.
He added, if you really care to know,
He meant to dear the upper pasture, too.
That sounds like something you have heard before?
Warren, I wish you could have heard the way
He jumbled everything. I stopped to look
Two or three times -- he made me feel so queer--
To see if he was talking in his sleep.
He ran on Harold Wilson -- you remember -
The boy you had in haying four years since.
He's finished school, and teaching in his college.
Silas declares you'll have to get him back.
He says they two will make a team for work:
Between them they will lay this farm as smooth!
The way he mixed that in with other things.
He thinks young Wilson a likely lad, though daft
On education -- you know how they fought
All through July under the blazing sun,
Silas up on the cart to build the load,
Harold along beside to pitch it on.'

'Yes, I took care to keep well out of earshot.'

'Well, those days trouble Silas like a dream.
You wouldn't think they would. How some things linger!
Harold's young college boy's assurance piqued him.
After so many years he still keeps finding
Good arguments he sees he might have used.
I sympathize. I know just how it feels
To think of the right thing to say too late.
Harold's associated in his mind with Latin.
He asked me what I thought of Harold's saying
He studied Latin like the violin
Because he liked it -- that an argument!
He said he couldn't make the boy believe
He could find water with a hazel prong--
Which showed how much good school had ever done
him. He wanted to go over that. 'But most of all
He thinks if he could have another chance
To teach him how to build a load of hay --'

'I know, that's Silas' one accomplishment.
He bundles every forkful in its place,
And tags and numbers it for future reference,
So he can find and easily dislodge it
In the unloading. Silas does that well.
He takes it out in bunches like big birds' nests.
You never see him standing on the hay
He's trying to lift, straining to lift himself.'

'He thinks if he could teach him that, he'd be
Some good perhaps to someone in the world.
He hates to see a boy the fool of books.
Poor Silas, so concerned for other folk,
And nothing to look backward to with pride,
And nothing to look forward to with hope,
So now and never any different.'

Part of a moon was filling down the west,
Dragging the whole sky with it to the hills.
Its light poured softly in her lap. She saw
And spread her apron to it. She put out her hand
Among the harp-like morning-glory strings,
Taut with the dew from garden bed to eaves,
As if she played unheard the tenderness
That wrought on him beside her in the night.
'Warren,' she said, 'he has come home to die:
You needn't be afraid he'll leave you this time.'

'Home,' he mocked gently.

'Yes, what else but home?
It all depends on what you mean by home.
Of course he's nothing to us, any more
then was the hound that came a stranger to us
Out of the woods, worn out upon the trail.'

'Home is the place where, when you have to go there,
They have to take you in.'

'I should have called it
Something you somehow haven't to deserve.'

Warren leaned out and took a step or two,
Picked up a little stick, and brought it back
And broke it in his hand and tossed it by.
'Silas has better claim on' us, you think,
Than on his brother? Thirteen little miles
As the road winds would bring him to his door.
Silas has walked that far no doubt to-day.
Why didn't he go there? His brother's rich,
A somebody- director in the bank.'

'He never told us that.'

'We know it though.'

'I think his brother ought to help, of course.
I'll see to that if there is need. He ought of right
To take him in, and might be willing to--
He may be better than appearances.
But have some pity on Silas. Do you think
If he'd had any pride in claiming kin
Or anything he looked for from his brother,
He'd keep so still about him all this time?'

'I wonder what's between them.'

'I can tell you.
Silas is what he is -- we wouldn't mind him--
But just the kind that kinsfolk can't abide.
He never did a thing so very bad.
He don't know why he isn't quite as good
As anyone. He won't be made ashamed
To please his brother, worthless though he is.'

'I can't think Si ever hurt anyone.'

'No, but he hurt my heart the way he lay
And rolled his old head on that sharp-edged chair-back.
He wouldn't let me put him on the lounge.
You must go in and see what you can do.
I made the bed up for him there to-night.
You'll be surprised at him -- how much he's broken.
His working days are done; I'm sure of it.'

'I'd not be in a hurry to say that.'

'I haven't been. Go, look, see for yourself.
But, Warren, please remember how it is:
He' come to help you ditch the meadow.
He has a plan, You mustn't laugh at him.
He may not speak of it, and then he may.
I'll sit and see if that small sailing cloud
Will hit or miss the moon.'

It hit the moon.

Then there were three there, making a dim row,
The moon, the little silver cloud, and she.
Warren returned-- too soon, it seemed to her,
Slipped to her side, caught up her hand and waited.

'Warren?' she questioned.

'Dead,' was all he answered. 
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