Designed by Sama Adhami

Writer: Sama Adhami

Editor: Nika Nechaeva

A HOME — TO LIVE OR TO LEAVE

INSPIRED BY A TRUE STORY

I left Venezuela, when I was in my early twenties, seven years ago.

I was born and raised in Caracas and had been living in the same house for twenty-three years with my Spanish-Venezuelan parents before I decided to leave. From that time on, I called Venezuela my home. My only home.

I have a vivid picture of myself standing there with a heavy heart and unstoppable teardrops at the airport, where a part of me wanted to stay, but my body was calling to go.

I thought I would never feel home anywhere else because home to me was something more than just four walls and a doorbell, but a place where the smell of Pasticho would guide me from school to home and straight to the kitchen, where my mom was standing in the sunbeam wearing her cooking apron doing magic over the cooker; a place where my father would help me to fix my broken bicycle and tell me stories to sleep every night…

Seven years down the line, I found a better definition of home for me.

In our lives, we stay in or leave our primary homes by choice or force in the pursuit of a new one. In my case, I have found four.

Venezuela, Spain, England, Austria. Very soon, I will add Germany to the list, too.

Looking back at Venezuela leaves me with a sigh of despair after realizing this place does not give me the same feeling anymore, which I used to have towards home. Civil war, hunger, poverty, and unhappiness have replaced all those happy and innocent memories.

What, if you will never be able to feel at home in your own home, anymore?

Every once in a while, the feeling of not having a home or not knowing where to look for it haunts me down. But every time, I correct myself by saying: there was a home I was born at. I breathed its air every day. Yet, there is an endless number of homes on Earth. You will choose them yourself and your heart will linger comfortably in those places. You will choose the people who will become your family not by blood, but by choice, whom you will make memories with and grow older together and blow your birthday candles.

There will be homes in foreign countries. There will be doors, that will always be warmly opened to migrant birds and people that will give you the love you have been missing all day long. There will be records that once you listen to, will leave a footprint on your soul, and one day, when you pass by a vintage record shop in another country, hearing the same song, will wrap you up with a feeling of nostalgia after so many years. The song will bring you back to that place, to that very moment that once was your home, which you will always carry in your heart.

Every time leaving a home to another home hurts, yet it is worth knowing there are still homes, I have not lived in and people I have yet to meet.

I am sending my gratitude, love, and a piece of me to all the homes and families I have found on the way and to the ones which are just yet to come!

what is home to you?