Thursday, May 19, 2011

angsty thoughts on not having a default home

"Default home". That's a weird phrase. I'm trying to capture that sense of the place you go to unless you're called somewhere else.

You know. You'll stay where you are, or wherever "home" is, unless you have a very clear sense of purpose or calling (or a really good job offer) that pushes you to go somewhere else, somewhere new.

Thanks to growing up around the world, Isaac and I don't have that.

I was talking to my mom this week about our future plans and it related back to this. Typically for people our age, they move overseas for a few reasons. If you're career minded, you might go for a really good job. If you're evangelical, you might go if you feel God "call" you (typically the reason people went into missions), or if you're just tempted by the super-spiritual reputation that overseas missionaries have. If you're just young, you might go for the adventure and to escape the rat-race (but you'll come back to it later)....

But all of those things are good or bad reasons to leave your default home.

What do you do when you don't have a default home? Do Isaac and I need to feel called to go somewhere? But then again, since nowhere is home, wouldn't we sort of need to be called to go ... anywhere.... since there is no starting point?

I mean... I suppose the most automatic move would be Chicago. It's the longest I've lived anywhere in the US, and it was where Isaac and I met and married. Still, although it is familiar (which is SO valuable in my life), the connections we have there are a smattering of leftover college friends and two sisters, and people continue to move away because that's the way things go in the big city post-college. Kansas is my grandparent's home, Colorado is my parent's home, Ohio is Isaac's family's home. Texas is where we live. There isn't.... a home.

So, for us to move overseas, our motivations are different. It makes sense in terms of service and need. Isaac can provide education in a field where training is desperately needed overseas, and there's an abundance of teachers in his field here. So... we go where the need is. Why not go? What is the reason to stay? And when I say stay... stay where? Where is the default?

If you just think of America as a whole as the default, I get irrationally resistant. No. America is not my home, I say. I didn't grow up here. I don't understand this place, it doesn't understand me. There's practically an uprising when a President like me gets elected because he just can't  possibly be a real American, right? Yeah. I STILL feel like I don't belong here. I don't want to live here, in a place I'm supposed to know and love but don't. I feel like this is my anti-default. I will stay here.... if God calls me (and what does that even look like?). I don't want to.

Since we have no home, why not go where the need is? Why not make a new home in a new place, together?

And in the end, I recognize that I really am a bit irrational and emotional on the issue.

17 comments:

Rach said...

Hmm, these are really good thoughts. I resonate with you. Ecuador definitely isn't my home any more. I wish it could be sometimes, but its not. Colorado (where my parents are) isn't, even though several of my siblings call it home. Chicago? Maybe. Right now it's home, and I have to be OK with just living in the moment...

Jaimie said...

My home is Texas. I never thought of it in this light, but you're right -- it is a kind of default for me.

I think your home is Papua...

Kacie said...

If Papua is home, I can't go there. Because... even it's home emotionally, I have to have a visa to get there... and right now the only visa I qualify for is a visitor's visa that only lets me stay a few months...

Dana Elayne Stuber said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Dana Elayne Stuber said...

Jake and I have the same problem, but we have chosen to make Tremont our home. We love being around family (even though they are Jake's family and even he has had to get to know them...) We have fallen in love with life here and have made deep efforts to become very involved in our church ministries. We fit here. It takes an effort, but you really can have somewhere be your home even if if it's not "where you grew up".

Kacie said...

Yeah Dana, like I said... I envy ya'll right now! And that's the thing. I know I can make a place a home. Having to make some decisions relating to all that makes me angsty, because I don't know where I'm supposed to start from in order to make those decisions of where to go to try to make a home.

Alysa said...

I wonder if the fun piece of your story is the fact that you don't have to get stuck being in a certain place because it's expected of you. Like, since there is no 'home' for you, you get the adventure of choosing wherever you want home to be and there won't be a right or wrong answer to that because you're free. You and Isaac get to pull out the globe and say, "Okay, wherever the finger lands, that's where we'll go and we'll put down roots there." Or not. {The adventurer in me is quite envious of your prospects... but I know that isn't necessarily how you're wired up so that leaves you feeling very unsettled and angsty. {which, by the way, is a great descriptive word.} anyway, feeling your dilemna with you and so wishing your Papua didn't require a visitor's visa. boo. I love you sweet girl. {P.S. I selfishly vote Chicago.}

AHLondon said...

Actually, at least for Judah and Isaac, home is wherever you, you physical Kacie not you the pronoun, are.

Now, why does America not like you? I find that very unlikely.

AHLondon said...

Also, the USVI might feel Papua-like to you.

Kacie said...

Alysa, you're right, there is some great adventure in it, and I actually do love that, though it's balanced with some discomfort because I like stability! I suppose I get uncomfortable and angsty when I find that others really think we should stay here.

Melissa said...

i know this feeling for sure. being overseas right now, the thought for other people as their contract ends is, "should i go back to the US or should i stay?" but for me i think of if there is a reason to leave, because if i left, where would i go anyway? for other people, the default is to go back to the US, but for me there is no default...

cclarebear said...

I don't have any answers, but I do have a good suggestion.

Move to Australia. It's sunny, people speak English, there's lots of Indonesian food, and it's neutral ground - you both know exactly the same amount of people here.

matchingmoonheads said...

my family is the same way...three generations of homelessness on both sides so i can't even say "oh, my grandparents are from here" given how we've chosen to...serve our country. my husband's family is the exact opposite...they've only ever lived in one place. when i'm asked about where i'd like to live, i have no idea how to answer the question since 'home' is all about the people and right now all 6 of us live in 6 different cities in 5 states, soon to be 6 states (but at least we're all in the same country - for the moment). i was always so resistant to the idea of living in one place but after seeing my husband's family and realizing how many less attachment 'issues' i might have had, i wonder if it really is truly better to have a more stable place to live, at least geographically. my high school was even abroad so the idea of high school friends living somewhere is crazy too. either way, i'm also curious where we'll end up. wherever the wind takes us I guess (unless my in=laws have anything to do with it...!)

lisamckaywriting said...

This, I totally get. Also, if you're looking to move overseas, Laos is a bit of an adventure. I'm just saying... :)

jenabroad said...

I SO get you in this! Once again, I could have written this post. I have wrestled with this a lot in the past couple years. America is not my home and never will be, although I have, recently, chosen to call Houston home. I dated a Swedish guy for awhile in Mozambique and liked the idea of marrying a foreigner and settling in his country because then we'd have a definite home, but it would still be a foreign country to me, which is where I'm more comfortable. Sometimes I think it's been easier for me to settle into Houston when I consider it a foreign country. Plus it helps that so many people here are non-Houstonians, so we're, in a sense, all a bunch of expats. I am excited to follow your journey and see where y'all end up!

AHLondon said...

@jenabroad, Houston is surprising that way. We are moving back soon and people often think I'm moving back to the sticks because Houston is kinda under the radar for international stuff. It is not London, true, but it is very international.

Maureen Kennedy said...

I totally empathize with that. I don't really have a "home" either. I mean, I lived the first 13 years of my life in northern VA, then spend almost every year from the time I was 13 until I left for college in a different place. Chicago was where I lived through college, and now that I'm living with my parents, I still don't feel like Florida is "home." My siblings are scattered all over, one in Philadelphia, one in St. Louis, one in Urbana, and one in Atlanta. There really isn't a place where my "family" is rooted. I think that's part of the reason why I'm so comfortable leaving and going overseas to the Czech Republic this summer.

Maybe once I get married, I'll be able to call my husband's home "home," or maybe not. Maybe Czech will become my home. Who knows? I agree. I think if you are willing and able to go, and there's nothing holding you back, then you should go where the need is.