For the first time since we moved away from Kansas City about 6 months ago we are headed back for a visit. In the immortal words of the incomparable Ozzy Osbourne (I promise, at one time in his life this was actually true) “Mama I’m Coming Home.” Or am I?
I recently mentioned to someone here in Playa del Carmen that I was going home for a couple of weeks for a visit. They asked, you still call Kansas City your home? Isn’t Playa del Carmen home now? I have no idea why, but that kind of took me aback. How had I not even considered this before? Since then I’ve been thinking about the meaning of home a lot. What does home mean for me? Is it a physical thing or is it mental? Where is home?
For almost 40 years I never had to think twice when asked ‘where’s home?’ Besides a few years away at college I lived my entire life in Kansas City. Sure I moved from place to place, even back and forth across the Kansas/Missouri state line. But a 50 mile radius was about as far as I strayed. We traveled extensively growing up and saw the world but we always returned home. I, in fact, still physically own a home there. The town is full of my family and friends. If home is, as Roman philosopher Pliny the Elder said, where your heart is then does that mean Kansas City is home?
But Playa del Carmen is currently where I have an apartment. It’s where I sleep every night. It’s where I am making new friends. It is where my husband is. It’s where I really want to be right now. And it’s where a big part of my heart now is.
Can you have two homes? What happens when we move to another city in Mexico or another country and fall in love with yet another place? Does the number of places I call home grow exponentially? Or conversely am I destined to be without a home from now on? That sounds awfully depressing, although somewhat liberating at the same time.
Since I was first asked the question I’ve alternated between saying ‘we’re going home’ and ‘we’re going to Kansas City’ because I realize I don’t know what home is anymore. It’s not something I’ve been able to define and I don’t really have an answer for any of my questions (feel free to chime in if you’ve got this figured out). I’m guessing that at some point while in Kansas City I’m going to mention going home and will be referring to Playa del Carmen because that will also feel very natural to me.
What doesn’t feel natural to me? The idea that I’m about to get on a plane and be somewhere in five hours that took us more than five days of driving to cover the same amount of distance. What the? Well whether or not we’re traveling to home or away from home, I know we’re looking forward to eating the world’s best barbecue, hugging the bejesus out of some nieces and nephews and drinking some cervezas with our friends. It might feel like home, it also might feel very foreign to me, but I can’t wait to see what happens.
While we’re traveling, posting will likely be a little light which should give you plenty of time to listen to some Ozzy and do a little head banging. I promise you’ll enjoy!