Where Is Home?
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Student Life

Where Is Home?

Home doesn't have to be one place.

Where Is Home?
Colin Nixon

Where is home?

That question is probably one I will be grappling with most of my life, but since coming to college as a first year everyone asks "Where is your hometown" or "Where are you from?"

Technically, home for me is the great state of New York.

For most people your hometown is where you live right now or where you live permanently.

For a person who immigrated to the United States when she was two years old, that subject is a little more complicated.

I grew up mostly in northern New Jersey, and "Upstate" New York. Of course, there were a few more towns and cities along the way, who can forget Brooklyn? However, my life at home for the first 11 years of my life was completely immersed into the Chinese culture. I don't think I spoke a word of English at home until my mom and I moved in with my stepdad when I was in middle school. My mom missed Beijing and brought every ounce of our culture from back "home" into our lives here in the states. When I was inside my apartment in Brooklyn, I felt a closer identity with my Chinese culture. I had a rice cooker, hot water boiler with an ancient Chinese poem etched on it, two bamboo plants, and a bookshelf with Chinese books in my house. Ah, I almost forgot to mention that whenever my mom was home, we would literally celebrate ALL of the Chinese holidays.

On the contrary, every time I walked out of my apartment and onto 77th street everything was different.

I was just another kid with a heavy backpack walking past the deli to P.S. 204, my elementary school in Brooklyn. I had the school lunch of pizza, a fruit cup, and salad and I played, well attempted to, handball at recess. I had to learn English rather quickly as well. The ironic part was that as my English got better, my Chinese (writing and reading) regressed as I stopped going to Chinese school.

Every time I would bounce around within both my identities I got even more confused.

Especially during elementary and middle school, I've always found myself struggling with living in between two cultures. Whenever I traveled back to Beijing, my family in China was very welcoming and excited, but they always called me their "banana" because I'm "yellow on the outside and white on the inside." I know, it's quite a comparison. One time while I was at my aunt's house in Beijing, I answered the phone and I said "Hello?" instead of "Wei?" My aunt lost it as she thought that was the funniest thing of the century.

I generally still put Beijing, China as my hometown on most applications or forms.

Beijing may not be where I ever permanently resided, but it is where I was born, where my family lives, and where my culture lives on. Now reflecting back, Beijing is undoubtedly my hometown because my life became shaped by my culture and my roots from almost 7,000 miles away. I suppose I just have to live by Hannah Montana's wise lyrics "You get the best of both worlds, mix it all together and you know that it's the best of both worlds."

Clearly, the main takeaway from this article is that living as Hannah Montana is the best lifestyle.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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