(re)Discovering ‘Home’

I spent the previous week away from my usual residence at the University of Ghana, and stayed in the small community of Adenkrebi. Upon returning an interesting thing occurred. When I set foot back into the crazy-busy-crowded-calm of the University of Ghana I felt something comforting. I had spent the last week away from many of the people I had traveled to Ghana with. I was reunited with friends I had not seen in a while. I was back in the midst of familiar surroundings. It is good to be… home?

Defining the concept of home is nearly impossible. Home is a feeling of comfort and embrace, a location to love and to be loved, and the scene of familiarity. A home is more than a house; it is less tangible. A home is more than friends; it is less partial. A home is more than family; it is less static. Home is first lost upon leaving but ultimately found upon return.

I left my first home when I departed Massachusetts and moved to Grand Rapids to attend Calvin College three and a half years ago. Upon leaving GR and returning to Massachusetts for various Christmas breaks and summer vacations I realized Grand Rapids had also become a home to me. I had two places where I felt ‘at home’. In both places I was comfortable. In both places I had friends and family to be loved by and to love. In both places I experienced familiarity. In both places I was home.

I have been living in Ghana for just over two months now. The first two months have been full of struggles to adjust, new experiences, and joys of endless learning. The location of my material life has evolved around and has been at the campus of the University of Ghana in northeast Accra. This is where I spend most of the days and nights in when I am not traveling to other various regions of Ghana. This place has become my home. I am not sure if I’m more surprised about how long it took to realize this feeing or that I actually experienced this feeling at all.

My experience in Ghana has now transitioned from being a trip to an unforgettable time in my life. I am not here on vacation. (However it may seem like it from my tan.) I am not here on a mission trip. I am not here simply to get away. I am not here to travel. I am not here to ‘experience Africa’. I am here to live. To question. To learn. To love. And to grow. I have found a new home. It is my third one. It is in Accra, at the University of Ghana.

3 responses to “(re)Discovering ‘Home’”

  1. I am correlating this post with discussions we’ve had on the concept of “community” as a young adult/grad. We agree its a very important to have.. but how easy is it to build new support systems/communities away from everyone we know? Maybe it takes some time/effort but I think its similar to rediscovering home 🙂

  2. […] in a different place comes the fragmenting of your conceptualization of “home”. I’ve tried to define “home” before, but because I want to discuss something different here I won’t get caught up in […]

  3. […] is a really important lesson, however. I’ve written a lot about the concept of ‘home’ before (here and here). Here’s the critical nuance: while certain aspects of life in Kenya have come to […]

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