I always try to understand what people mean when they say the word “home.”
I once heard someone say home is a haven, a place where they feel safe. It doesn’t matter if it was their childhood home or a place where they recently moved. It just needs to feel like you’re away from the outside world.
Friends and relatives have said home is their childhood home because it defines them and their growth until they move out.
My definition of home goes beyond the usual definition. Home is not a place or anywhere I’ve lived.
For me, home is an emotional state derived from a certain root of feelings. To understand what I mean, allow me to tell you about my home country.
For 19 years, I lived on an island in the middle of the Indian Ocean, called Mauritius. Funny enough, our nation’s history is similar to Canada’s, except no one lived on the island before people populated it.
Mauritius is a pot-pourri of cultures. People came from around the world and intermarried. We have approximately 20 national holidays, most of them are religion-based.
I grew up in a mixed-race family. My father is of European-African descents whereas my mom is of Indian descent.
My father’s side of the family are mostly Catholic and my mom’s side practices Hinduism. I’d go to a Hindu temple on Saturdays and mass on Sundays.
Whenever we visit my mother’s side of the family, you can expect everyone to speak Hindi with each other. The only time my mom’s relatives would speak Creole, my mother tongue, is to my father.
When my maternal grandmother cooks, you can always expect a palette of dishes on the table, like mutton masala and mango pickles. I’d say more than 20 spices went into the making of such a feast, but the smell of each plate is singular. The mutton masala smells of sweet, slow-cooked roasted meat, while the mango pickles are sour and spicy.
I don’t want to feed into the stereotypes, but when we visit my dad’s side of the family, you can almost always expect chicken dishes. It ranges from breadcrumb-fried chicken to baked-in-rose water chicken. We would usually converse in Creole but sometimes we would speak in French since, aside from school, we have no other situation to practice.
My house is within walking distance to the beach, which is what I miss the most.
When I was five, my aunt used to take my cousins and I to the beach on Sundays and we would spend the entire afternoon swimming, walking on the golden sand, or making a fishing cane out of filao branches and try to catch some octopus or crabs.
Time and again, the ice cream truck would pass by and we would all rush to spare some coins from her to pay the vendor. The temperature would be so high, the ice cream would drip all the way to our tiny elbows. We would also wait for the pickle vendor — I would strongly advise those who have a weak stomach not to eat the pickles, for they are drenched in green hot pepper sauce.
All that I mentioned above is my definition of home. It‘s the food, the people, the childhood memories, the weather, the language and everything I have lived so far. Even, my life in Canada for the past two years is a part of my home.
Canada has given me the possibility to meet and have a taste of different cultures. I think it’s a chill place to live, although the cold weather is harsh sometimes. As I said in an early Instagram post I made when I moved to Canada, “It’s a whole new place for me, but it feels like home.”