“You will never be completely at home again. Because a part of your heart will always be elsewhere, that is the price you pay for the richness of knowing and loving people in more than one place” – Miriam Adeney.

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Living in an international community, you have to face the dilemma that your heart is divided into different pieces, each of which will be buried and will forever belong somewhere that is not your home country; you always mentally head to a place other than where you are physically. It is because you have more than one family, more than one home to long for.

You realize you have another home, from a little home in your own room to another home in a different country, where you never imagined of being able to come before, let alone having a family there. You know that you are truly living at a home away from home when…

…when you have a mommy and some aunties in your room. You don’t say ‘Go to my room’ but ‘Go home’ instead <3.

…when you are warmly welcomed by a Turkish family, are looked after as a little daughter by a Turkish mother, are taken to everywhere in Istanbul and are given presents for Christmas and new year as a member of the family.

…when a Palestinian mother spends the whole afternoon preparing a traditional meal for a group of international students, including you.

…when you help a Palestinian mother with cooking, teach two little sisters knitting and see them smile.

…when you are hosted by a Jewish family during Passover, joining a hand in the process of preparing for the important holiday by doing small things like arranging flower, slicing potatoes and helping with food.

…when an Italian father comes and picks you up to have dinner with an Italian family and keeps telling you: “You can come and visit us anytime you want”.

…when you plan a trip around South East Asia with your roomies and you realize that besides the flight ticket, you hardly need to pay for anything else.

…when your friend tells you that he wants you to come visit him in the next winter break.

And the list goes on.

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There are only 2 months left, well, not even 2 months. It is only one month and 23 days, to be exact, until the end of the school year; until the day I head to the Ben Gurion airport with my two huge suitcases, travel for 33 hours to go back to my little S-shaped homeland, touch and walk on my soil again, bathe myself in summer rain, use chopsticks to eat rice (and Phở of course).

Facing the future, I am pretty sure about that feeling of overwhelming happiness and running through my whole body when imagining me being at home, chilling and eating in nearly 2 months.

But reflecting on the past, I do not know what I feel precisely about the path I have been walking, with more than one home, more than 100 kids from 40 other countries in the world. It is something more than happiness, greater than pride, deeper than gratefulness, mixed with a little of regret, a bit of sadness and a spoon of incredibility. That feeling is ambivalent and ineffable.

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Do you believe it is our destinies that in a world of 7 billion people and 196 nation states, you and I meet each other, right now and right here?

Do you think it is a miracle when we, strangers from different corners of this big world, converge in this place, live under the same roof, make a home and become a vital part of each other’s life?

Me? Yes, I do, as I always say even though I have been waiting so long for an acceptance letter from Hogwarts and unfortunately, it never comes, it does not matter anymore. Not at all. Because I am at my Hogwarts now, and I have my own magic. Having more than one home is magic. You guys are the magic that happens in my life.

I just want to say, thank you all, for being my home and for everything.

***

Author: Linh Ha
Editor: Shy Zvouloun

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