This past week I was at an intense academic event and by the end I just wanted to go home. And then come back in about a week with a whole bunch of new questions. That being outside of the realm of possibility, I said to myself, I want to go home. But where is my home?
I have a lovely apartment in Bluffton, a place where I have lived longer than any other specific space since Grebel (if an on-campus apartment that was by chance the same for two years counts) or high school. But is this my home? How can I be at home in a culture where I do not fit but where others perceive that I do. Case in point: once I was crossing the border with my Nexus, otherwise known as the I paid money in exchange for the “Hemispheric Security” knowing way too much about me lane, and the US customs official said welcome home. I was, how shall we say, shocked, appalled, emotional and I started crying. Second anecdote: I was evangelizing my students about immigration – sharing with them facts such as immigrants are human, and Romney’s father was born in Mexico – and one of them said, and I paraphrase, “we want immigrants like you.”
In spite of others ascribing a Midwestern fit to my life, I feel more at home in Mexico City, a place where I do not fit. One of the happiest moments of my life in Mexico City was when someone was trying to sell me kosher goods because they thought I would use them. Because I belonged here. I then decided to explain that I had family in the Mennonite colonies, which just confused the woman. So then I bought something and left the store.
Perhaps home is that space where I can move through time and everyone else stays frozen until I can attend to them again.