September 3, 2009


My family moved from the bungalows at Lane 7 Hongju, Xuanwu District, to an apartment in a building of more than a score stories near Zhongguancun in the second year of my life. Parents have been telling me that in the first few nights of our new life there, I could not recognize this apartment as home and was always crying to “go home”. At that time, home to me was a place that I was familiar with and could rely on as a shelter from the complicated world outside. A change of location was enough to deprive me of the sense of security.

When ten years later my family moved again to a house in outskirt Beijing, I did not have such resistance anymore. What was left was a strong feeling of inconvenience brought by unacquaintance. I had to give up almost all I had: my friends, my neighborhood, and a proximity to downtown. What was preserved was my family who stayed with me as before, and made this place feel like home again.

Last year, a floormate in our residence hall asked where my “old home” (literal meaning of the Chinese word for “hometown”) was. I told her, I had no old home. I came from Beijing, and that was where my home was. I am not saying that I do not enjoy life in Hong Kong or something, but I really do not feel at home here, although the University has made every effort in making the student hostel like one with hall tutors installed on every floor and hall activities every now and then. It just isn’t home. Here’s no family.

One night a week ago, I was lying in my bed at home in Beijing, thinking, throughout my life I would probably travel to many places and take them as temporary residences; but wherever I went, there were always family waiting for me at home, the people who supported me and cared for me.

Thinking about them, I know I am not far from home.

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