Sunday, October 6, 2013

Home is Where the Family Is

Being an expat adult, people often ask me where I am from, and I easily answer, "Canada" since it is my birthplace and childhood home.  The thing is, I no longer align myself with Canada in the rabidly patriotic way that many Canadians do.  Of course every time someone mentions a Canadian movie star (William Shatner, for example), I interrupt immediately (before they have a chance to even say anything beyond the movie star's name) to state, "He's Canadian, you know."

And if you're Canadian, you'll answer, "I know."  If you're not, you might just roll your eyes. We do take our celebrities seriously, no question about it.  Michael J Fox?  Canadian.  Jim Carrey?  Canadian. Shania Twain?  Canadian.  Celine Dion?  Canadian.  But now, I'm going too far.  I'm also showing my age since there are many much more famous Canadians who are young and hip, not the celebrities of my youth.

That being said, I've been out of the country for more than 20 years now and aside from knowing that Stephen Harper is still the prime minister, that Quebec still wants to secede from the nation, forestry is still a contentious issue 40 years after I first begin watching the news, and our socialised healthcare system appears to be reviled by many south of the border, I am really not up to date on anything Canadiana.

Part of me feels guilty and like a bit of a traitor: after all, I married an American, adopted Chinese children and have lived in Asia for going on two decades.  The other part of me knows that while my citizenship buys me freedom, privilege and some unrivalled human rights, it is no longer my home other than on my passport.

So where is my home?  Technically speaking, it is in Hong Kong.  Speaking from my heart, however, it is where ever my family is at any given time.  If we are in a guest house in Bangkok, our bags are unpacked, and we finish our Pad Thai at the local diner, I'll always ask, "Shall we go back home?" and I'm not referring to our village house on the outskirts of Hong Kong.  (And the family will always reply, "No, let's go for a foot massage!" if we are in Thailand.  Who wants to go "home" if you can go out and be pampered extravagantly for just a few Baht?)

Pad Thai, then...
Off to our foot massage

My love of Thailand aside, family is my home, pure and simple.  Frankly, this makes my life simple and happy.  I can go anywhere, live anywhere, and I am happy.  If my family is with me, I am home. I think it's a pretty good way to live (and love) my life.

This summer, our home was our camper van, traversing
the North American continent!