which one is home?

a confusion that started with one question

valentina citra
3 min readNov 6, 2023
Photo by Rob Wingate on Unsplash

When you move to another city, one of the common question people will ask you is, “Where do you come from?”. As someone who just moved to another city, of course I get that question quite often. But lately, I found myself always have a pause for a few seconds before giving the answer.

I wonder why answering that specific question is a bit challenging for me. That question is supposed to be easy, right? You just need to name a city or town you previously lived in. Or you can just say your hometown, that’d be easier. But in my case, somehow, I always need that pause to think.

Then I realize the reason why I have that difficulty is because my brain instantly associate that question to something called ‘home’, as a place where I come from.

But what is a home, really? This question take me back to when I was a kid. When English was about enriching my vocabulary and memorizing all those grammars’ formula (which I forget now). I noticed that ‘house’ and ‘home’ has different meaning in English. ‘House’ refers to a building where someone lives and ‘home’ could be either a building or any location that a person think of as the place where they live.

Later on, I understood that ‘home’ could refer to a person or any other abstract things. A home could be a person, a pet, a warm hug, a little joy between the scrambling world, or anything that makes you feel safe, welcomed, and/or being understood.

Maybe because I hold on to such an abstract concept about home and identify the ‘where do you come from?’ as a question regarding home, I have to stop and think for a moment. Because, where is my home? Which one is my home? Do I really have a home?

Yes, I could mention the town where I was born as the answer. But is that really my home? Then, how about the city I grew up? Is that the correct answer? How about the small town where my mom lives? That town is my home, but the city I lived before I moved out is also my home since my people is there. So which one?

After that, I thought of something. Maybe I do not need to be confused about that question or about which place is my home. Because I have a lot of homes in form of the people I love and treasure and life drifts us apart sometimes so my homes now are scattered.

So now, if anyone ever ask me that question, I’ll just answer it with any names of the city as I please — that I refer as one of my home. And if anyone ever got confused because I mention different places, I’ll just need to explain them in less than fifty words.



valentina citra

a living mayhem with wandering mind | write in ina / eng | @aleviannt_