Where do you feel most at home?

Where is home?
Is it in the lap of mom or in the streets where as kids we used to roam?
Where is home?
Is it at the backseat of Dad's bike or with the siblings we used to fight?
Where is home?
Is it in the the friends we made or in the childhood fantasies we used to create?
Where is home?
Is it in those deep eyes which set my heart racing for the first time or in the denial of that feeling which kept me awake all night?
Where is home?
Is it in the town I left behind or in the bustling city that spread before my eyes?
Where is home?
Is it in the new faces I find or in the dark secrets that each one of them hide?
Where is home?
Is it in the beloved's comforting embrace or in the suffocating anxiety which slows down my pace?
Where is home?
Is it in the demons of night or in the morning smile that shines so bright?

Insane I was that I looked for home in temporary shelters.
Each led me on but failed to be my protector.

My search for home led me to look within myself.
The solace we seek is found in the dreams of our own selves!

This transnational area is what I consider to be home.

My home is no longer my home.

For 20 years the place I considered home and was longing to get back to was my hometown, the place I grew up in. Then I went back there a few years ago, I didn't recognize the place. All my schools were torn down. All the landmarks were gone. My friends, the people I loved, the people I wanted to see looked at me like strangers. There weren't an ounce of excitement in their eyes when they saw me.

Surprisingly I found the excitement in the eyes of the bullies who used to torture me. They greeted me like we were best friends and told me all about the "great" time we used to have together. Clearly we didn't have the same memories.

I regret ever returning there. If I didn't, that place would still exist in my mind and I would still love it. I would still have a home. Now I'm homeless. That place is no longer mine.

Besides my own home? In a library.

I was always a reserved child and definitely didn't have the gift of the gab.

In school, I never knew what to say when I caught someone's eye or how to strike a conversation with my classmates during recess.

In fact the beginning of school year filled me with dread because, students were randomly shuffled and changing sections meant starting all over again with the awkwardness.

In the midst of all this desert type memories, I distinctly remember my first visit to the school library. It was an OASIS OF PEACE.

"MAINTAIN SILENCE! NO TALKING!" announced a BIG board near the entrance. It was as if someone had finally taken pity on me and gifted a sanctuary where all I had to do was take a book and drown myself in it. Even if I met someone I knew, to smile and nod my head would suffice.

Ahhhhhhh, BLISS!

It's almost midnight. Dark. But the glow from the moon and stars, so bright in this rural field, is faintly illuminating the faces of my friends.

We're sitting on the grass, shivering under our campfire blankets. I don't know what we've been talking about, exactly, but when it's dark and late, that's when the best conversations happen. It's when people open up, say things that they would be afraid to in daylight.

The campsite is quiet around us. Sleeping. The only sound is the crackling of the campfire, barely audible. I glance at the green canvas tents around us, finally devoid of whispers and the glow of torches. This campsite is a world of its own, and I'm not sure I want to go back to the real world.

I turn back to the conversation, smiling faintly.

"To be honest, I thought you hated me when we first met," I confess.

"I didn't!" she protests. "I never hated you, I love you!"

"Platonically," she adds as she leans over and hugs me.

She reaches over to embrace the others, but underestimates the distance and ends up flopping onto the grass. We all try to smother our laughter, but it's impossible, and I realise that here, sitting on the cold, damp grass with my friends under a sky blazing with the most stars I've ever seen, this is where I want to be more than anywhere else. This is home.

In my teacher's classroom. Well, to be specific, I have two teachers I can completely trust and feel at home in. They're one of the many reasons why I prefer school over my own home. One is a woman and the other is a male and they have become my most trusted for the amount of time I've known them for.

The female's classroom, the smell of coffee hits my nostrils and her unique voice makes me feel at home. She looks at me with a kind smile and I know I can tell her almost anything because she knows what goes in my head. She tells me "Good morning," and asks how I am. She makes sure I'm okay. She knows I'm a kind student who worries too much about her grades. She knows I can do things and I can be positive, even if I am full of self-deprecation. I can always see the genuine worry in her eyes when I talk to her about a problem or if she reads it in the daily journals we have, I know that the words she writes with her pen is full of concern. She encourages positive behavior, I can cry on her shoulder, and I can tell her of my insane writing ideas and she'd support me every step of the way. I used to find her classes to be boring as I had her for journalism and creative writing everyday, but I now have her for English after some circumstances and I see her everyday. To me, it's a blessing rather than a burden as others have said.

For the male's classroom, I originally felt uneasy. I had him as a substitute once for Spanish (as he teaches that as well as French) and he practically shouted at us a few times. When I realized I had him for Spanish 3–4, my heart dropped. I was terrified of going to the class, but a few weeks in, he was actually really sweet. He had asked in the beginning of the year for us to make little index cards about our names, our preferred names, what we liked to do, and most importantly, a fact he needed to know to facilitate learning. I told him of my anxiety and how I was scared of Spanish. He eased me into it and when he calls on me to say something, he allows me to take my time and when I have a day where I just want to hide away, he lets me. We grew to a close teacher and student relationship and I learned a lot about him while he learned a lot about me. I learned about his insecurities and he learned about mine. I learned bits about his past and he knows about mine. I also became his teacher's assistant when I finish all my work, to which I only find comfort in rather than stress. As with the female teacher, I feel comfortable telling him things and crying in front of him. I cried today, for example, and he was willing to clear the classroom during lunch if I felt like it was too much and wanted to talk to him about what happened.

I love them both. I really hope after high school I still keep in touch and I never want them to leave.

If you're reading this Mrs. Ten and Señor Swain, thank you for everything.

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