It was only a few months ago that I'd moved to New York City, my new home. As I planned my exciting move, I started meeting people in the city. My heart was filled with hopes and dreams, I wanted to walk the walk and talk the talk of this city! A young guy who I quickly ended up liking a lot after our first meeting stated he lived in Brooklyn - Brooklyn! I loved the way the name rolled off my tongue. As I started my apartment hunt, I typed in "Brooklyn" in the search engine - I went from building to building and after a grueling search and one shady deal later, I found the one, my beautiful apartment with a balcony. This was going to be my home for a long long time, but soon enough, came the cold winter.
My newly formed dream became real - as I grabbed an ice cream in Mcdonalds, a man walked up to me and stated that I should go back to my country, I cried for the next few hours but I was meeting my friend Natalie, from the UK for lunch that day and with her I quickly felt at home. New York is notorious for having a "super" in the building, one designated person who takes care of the building, so did my apartment complex - soon, this care taker turned into my biggest nightmare. Someone, I'd thought was safe to text if I needed help, was the one I started avoiding on daily basis! My favourite client turned into the monster who wouldn't pay me and expect me to work for her 24/7 and my new friend who I loved so much would snap at me every time I opened my mouth. Was this truly home, I wondered, a question I'd been contemplating for a very long long time. Where am I truly from I wonder, as I walked through Prospect Park, walking, a habit I developed from when I lived in Nepal. Then I sat and ate breakfast, eggs and toast - a love for which I'd found in London Town.
I woke up today, in LA and found myself going over these feelings again so I sat and googled "What is home?". A plethora of answers came up, a place where you feel loved, secure and cherished seemed like a good one. Spiritually, Google said, a home is where you feel you belong because your ideas or attitudes are the same as the people who live there. And as I scrolled for an answer that would truly satisfy my soul, I stumbled upon a Ted Talk by Taiye Selasi titled "Don't ask where I am from, ask where I'm a local". As I watched Taiye speak, I felt at home. She talked of her friends who'd lived in numerous cities, like herself and like me and then went onto give 3 words to unpack to define home for you. Rituals, relationships, restrictions.
Maybe home is the place where you feel safe to grow and to love, to be yourself and to laugh and live. Where you can go to sleep without worry or fear. Without a door being slammed into your face or being teased about being tiny. Home is acceptance. A place that doesn't change you but lets you. In any given moment, home can be a place, a thing, a person or a feeling. Maybe we can feel completely at home while dancing by the fountains in Rome or maybe while we run after the train in Switzerland. Home is a feeling of safety. As Selasi states "You can take away my passport but you can't take away my experience. Where I'm from is wherever I go". With that, I am Rivita, a citizen of the world, I belong anywhere where I am loved, encouraged, accepted and kept safe. And today, home is here, right here wherever I maybe.