Home? Did I go HOME? Then it hit me. I did go home. By staying right here in Tokyo, Japan.

School started back up this week.  As I drop the boys off in the morning, conversations sound like this:

Them: Hi!

Me: Hi! Happy New Year!

Them: You too!  How was your winter break? Did you go home?

Me: Home?  Did I go HOME?  Hmmm….

Then it hit me. Boom. Epiphany.  I did go home.  By staying right here in Tokyo, Japan.

Growing up we moved around a bunch.  Steve did too.  To date I have lived in 10 different cities.  He has lived in 9.  We met when our families moved to St. Louis in 8th grade and we both stayed put until we graduated from High School. During our college years, St. Louis was the home we would return to.  Until his family moved away.  Mine did too.  Neither of us have any relatives left there. (see Fig 1.)

Currently, Steve’s family is in Kansas City.  My parents are in Chapel Hill, my sister is in London and my brother is in San Francisco.  Once you throw in aunts, uncles and cousins our family geography looks like a modest Jackson Pollock painting scattered across a map of the world. (see Fig. 2)

Before we moved to Tokyo, I had spent almost a decade in Minneapolis.  Steve almost two.  Minnesota was our home.  We have friends there we love with all our heart.  Friends that are family.  Framily.  But all of a sudden, when we sold our house, we also sold our home.  Although our friends would happily open up their doors to us for visits, without our own space and family as roots, the distance starts to shake our foundation a bit.

Last summer, I thought I was going home - but as we bounced around the world from family member to family member all I could think was that I was so ready to get back to our apartment in Japan.

As I connect with people here in Tokyo, I can’t help but feel jealous of those that have their large extended family all in one place.  Their parents are still in the house they grew up in.  Their brothers and sisters are maybe a town away.  Cousins are waiting to be played with and it is a no brainer to return there for 3-weeks during the winter and 11-weeks during the summer.  They know after their assignment here, they will move back into their house that has been waiting for them and their town will gobble them back up. 

For me, as I plan out our summer travel for 2019, I can’t help but look back at how we spent our 2018.  I know that family is so important to us and we miss them oh so much.  But I also know that we have a 2 and 4-year-old and switching up beds and time zones and routines is FREAKING HARD.  So, we will try our best to balance hugging loved ones, gossiping with old friends and feeling grounded.

But I now know one thing for sure: with Steve, Anders and Chase by my side, our current home sweet home is in Tokyo, Japan.

Fig 1

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 2

Melissa Bertling1 Comment