There’s No Place Like Home…

For as long as I remembered Kuwait was always home to me, I always missed it, I always craved being there and in my head, it was where I should always be. So naturally when I got a job that takes me to Kuwait often I was super excited I mean why shouldn’t I be; I was going home, right?
I landed and everything looked the same, a few tweaks to the roads here and there, but no substantial changes. Everything I grew up with was right there; everything was still so familiar, exactly where it has always been. I went to the office and I was back in the Kuwait corporate life, the structure, the efficiency, the hustle and bustle of it all. The office had a few familiar faces, people were courteous and accommodating, and it was all an environment I loved so much.
My high school best friend picked me up from work that day; I spent the day with her, checked in to my hotel, went out to all the familiar places, had one or the best quality meals I had in a long time and caught up with my friend who I haven’t seen for years.
I went back to the hotel that night, full belly, happy to see my friend, but for the first time ever, Kuwait stopped feeling like home. I realized I was not home anymore, and that feeling weirded me out. I attributed that feeling to being tired and decided to go to sleep, assuring myself that tomorrow, that familiar feeling will come back.
I got ready for work in the morning, arrived to the office in exactly 10 minutes, something that NEVER happens in Egypt, the office was in a fancy tower, the placed looked so proper and prim and sparkling clean. Everything was what you could describe as an upgrade from my 1 hour commute to the office, the hassle to park, the older office building, so why did something not sit right?
I saw another friend that night , someone super close to my heart; someone I love so much and we hung out and spent the day together. Once again, low traffic roads, good food, convenient shopping and good friends, why was I not feeling at home ?
I went back to my hotel and realized I was counting the days to go back to Egypt and I was surprised to say the least. Without going into a repeated account, the days went by, four nights of meeting people, catching up and with everyday my excitement to go back to Egypt was increasing.
On the morning I was going back to Egypt I was beaming, I was giddy and eager and so excited to go back. I wanted to go home, and for the first time ever and for a reason I didn’t understand much, Egypt was finally home.
I didn’t understand why, when or how Egypt has become home. But it did. My plane landed and I was joyous and excited. I stepped out of the plane, fully aware of the chaos that awaits me. But I was still excited to be back.
I responded to a few texts on my phone, and sent out two texts to two people. My mother, and someone else. Someone, who I wanted to be the first person I spoke to as soon as I landed. And when they both called (separately) I felt safe, secure and home and I finally understood it. Home is not a place, home is a person or a group of people.
To me, home was my mom’s security, her voice and her prayers for me at all times. Was my best friends, and after hour drinks with them, or quick bites. Home was the love of my life, who’s voice makes my day and makes me feel secure. Home is his smile, his reassurance that everything will be ok, and spending lazy mornings in the sun with him, or just hanging out talking about everything and nothing.
Home, became my support system that carried me through thick and thin, and celebrated everything with me. It was my friends that we would sit and just do nothing and be ok with that; my mother who no matter how old I get, always wants to make sure I’m ok. Home is also that person, who you call when you’re panicking, or when you’re happy or is the first person in the world to know you got a job you’ve been dreaming of.
Home became my nephew’s hugs, and chilling with my family. Home stopped becoming a place, a country and started becoming people. Home was reminders of my father, and the place that held his grave. Home , I finally understood is where I felt like I could be me, and be human. Where it was ok to be scared because someone has my back, or to panic, because eventually someone will help and I will not be alone. Home is where the joy of celebrations is multiplied by a 100 and the sorrow of pain is divided. I understood this morning as I saw a familiar face that brightened my world in a split second why Kuwait stopped feeling like home.
And to me, it’s the most liberating feeling in the world to know that home is not tied to a place, to understand that I’m actually home because I have all that makes me feel happy, supported, loved, appreciated and taken care of. In the famous words of Dorothy “There’s no place like home”.

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