People always ask me, where I call home. And I never know how to answer. I was born in New Zealand, in a small town hospital not even an hours drive from the town where both sets of grandparents lived and my parents had been born and grown up in. I returned there for the first few weeks of my life.
But then my parents and I packed me up along with a few now outdated suitcases and we flew to Japan. I spent the first years of my life, on the other side of the world to the place where I was born. My days were spent in transit, my parents slowly getting comfortable exploring further and further from our little paper house in rural Osaka. My father worked at the university there, teaching english.
I remember the trains. I remember having to sit on my mothers lap, wiggling free was not an option. She was wearing a yellow T-shirt and a big floppy hat.
I remember the airports. I remember feeling even smaller than usual in the towering rooms with rows upon rows of blue chairs.
I remember being in the air, usually a decadent experience, with air hostesses spoiling me rotten, and seeing a terrified hostess rush past me in her low heels. She didn’t stop to answer my mother concerned question. They didn’t usually ignore me. I remember noticing there were suddenly no hostesses anywhere to be seen, they had all gone into the end cabin and locked the door. My mum scooped me up tightly and buckled me into my seat. She ignored my irritation over this. I stopped crying when I saw how scared she looked.
I remember walking out of the airport on my fathers hip. I remember them seeing a television and I remember my mother crying.
I remember the red roofed house. It had a little hidden room under the stairs that connected to a narrow space that I could squeeze into and then inch my way along until I reached the laundry room. A older boy who lived down the dusty road helped me build a treehouse at that home. We would crawl through the mud behind the tennis court and make mud pies pretending to be intrepid explorers. Naturally, I would not dress down for the occasion and many a pink or white fluffy dress was ruined by my adventures.
When I was older, we all went with my father on his trips. Me and my sister would race each other down carpeted corridors and explore all the little nooks in every motel we stayed in. I would sometimes wake up in a new room every day of the week. But it would always feel like home.
Then there was the house on poles, the lounge looked out into the trees, at least ten meters up. That was the home that my adventures became the trips I took in the many books I read. It was also my home when I brought my first bra and experienced my first crush.
Home for me is nowhere and everywhere.