Home is where I was raised. It is where my mother and father raised me into the young man I am today. Home is where I took my first steps and said my first words. Home is where I learned about the importance of family, love, and respect. For me, home is in South Vancouver. I grew up on Main Street in South Vancouver, near the Sunset Community Center. My home is not the house I lived in, but rather the community that I lived in. I was raised by everybody in that community. Growing up as a child, my home was my entire neighborhood. I considered everybody on my block my family. Whether it was walking to school every morning, or playing basketball with the other children in the streets, I always felt as if i was at home. When I look outside my house window, I am looking at my home. The people that surrounded me is what made this place my home. The community had a huge hand in raising me. Whenever my parents were not home or during the many instances I had forgotten to take my house key with me, i would not panic because I knew that I was already home. I did not define my home by the physical boundaries that kept me safe. The Sunset community was my home.
For the past ten summers, home has been a small trailer on my family’s apple orchard in Othello, Washington. I love Othello and sometimes I wish I can permanently call this place my home. It brings me such joy to even have the opportunity to write about it. I like to refer to it as the most peaceful place on Earth. The closest neighbor I have in Othello is 10 miles away. Whenever I am at home, I am alone with my thoughts. I consider the apples and trees as my family. The pace of life is much different than that of the city. Everything is quiet and you can hear yourself think. I spend my hours working on the fields and walking around the beautiful apple trees. The best feeling I’ve had is waking up and opening the door to the trailer on a sunny Sunday morning and observing the complete silence that is around me. This is what home is to me. A place where I am alone with my thoughts and the safest environment which allows for me to be myself.
I consider the Ross Street Gurdwara (temple) to be my home too. It is a place where I can be myself and give back to my community. My grandparents started taking me to the temple on a daily basis when I was very young. They wanted me to build a relationship with God as well as learn the values and history of my own culture. The temple feels like home to me because I am surrounded by family every time I enter. We all share a common goal, regardless of our race our religious beliefs. This home is beautiful because it opens its doors to everybody. It does not matter whether you are white, brown, black, purple; or if you are from Mars or Jupiter. You are always welcome to make the Gurdwara your home. Home is about a sense of camaraderie and respect. There are no outsiders in my home. I learned about Sikhism and the importance of treating people with respect. I learned how to conduct myself outside of home and appreciate everyone for who they truly are. I learned not to judge people because everyone has their own story and path they travel in life that is different from my own. Most importantly, it is continuing to teach me the true meaning of home.
Home is not defined by an ownership of property or a physical structure. Home is synonymous with peace of mind. It is something internal rather than external. Home brings comfort and serenity to a person. Home is where you feel most comfortable being yourself. Home is where you can learn to succeed and fail. Home is where you can create, share and experience anything you want to. Home is where the heart is. Home is wherever you want it to be.