“I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing.
Out here it’s like I’m someone else,
I thought that maybe I could find myself
If I could just come in I swear I’ll leave.
Won’t take nothing but a memory
From the house that built me.”

             – Miranda Lambert
from “The House that Built Me”


In about 7 hours, I will be flying back to California for Christmas break until Jan 3rd.  It has been 4 months since I left home, so I’m pretty excited(?)… or nervous(?)… actually more like confused(?)…. no it’s hard to put a word to how I’m feeling.  What I want to say is that I’m just wondering what it will be like to be back at home.  How have things changed and how have things stayed the same?  Will I feel exactly at home, or would I feel like too much of me has already moved out?

How do you define home?  Where you were born?  Where you’ve grown up in your youth?  Where you live now?

They say home is where your mom is.  I guess dad should get included there too, but it was my mom who told me this.  Anyways, the point is that the reason I’m going back is because my parents (and sister and grandparents) are there.  If you think about it, it’s difficult to rationalize the kind of love you have for your family.  Why do I want to be with my mom and dad?  Why do I want to hug and embrace and be cute with my sister?  Why do I want to take my grandparents to eat pho?  I really don’t know, but it compels me to fly home this Christmas.

As much as I love my family to death, I’ve really been a terrible son, brother, and grandson to them for the past 4 months.  I often forget to even give a phone call home once a week.  I apparently don’t care enough to let them know what I’ve been going through, or to know what’s been going on back home.  As much as I hate to admit it, I’ve been too busy living my own life, away and independent from them, that my family has been hardly on my mind.

If I cared a bit more, I would have bought some thoughtful souvenirs for them.  Instead, I’ll probably find something cheap from the school bookstore or something that says “Chicago” from the airport and take that back to my family.  Yet still they’ll be waiting for me with wide open arms and much anticipation.  Grandma will kill the fattened calf and cook up a feast of my favorite food, and my parents will shower me with praises and affection for the next 2 weeks.  What have I done to deserve any of this?  Really nothing more than just being the imperfect son I am.  Just 2 paragraphs ago, I mentioned I really loved my family.  But no matter how much I love them, I don’t think I’ll ever out-love their love for me.

Just wait a few more hours, mom.  Your son is coming home.

Simeon Koh