For the last five years I’ve been nomadic. I’ve not lived in the same place consecutively for more than 9 months. In 2002 I was in Portland OR, and since then I’ve maintained my ‘home base’ there. Previous to 2002, I was grounded in Portland for 6 years. Being born and raised in Portland, and going to college in-state, Oregon is my true home. It was a place that I’ve grown fonder of from year to year. My international studies degree from the University of Oregon never took me outside Oregon or the USA for work, instead I shifted to local community organizing and development in the neighborhoods where my parents and grandparents lived in NE Portland.
After 2002, I left for Boston to start at Harvard, then proceeded to live in the Khasi Hills India on field study, back to Portland to be with my then fiance, and ultimately to New York City where we lived in Brooklyn and Manhattan with summers in Portland as well as a semester where my partner was in Mindanao Philippines and I was in Boston for a teaching internship. Last year I spent my first full academic year in Boston, graduated from Divinity School, and after another summer in Portland, we are now here in the Philippines.
Home in Quezon City with my partner’s family is like home in Portland OR is like Cheers – that place where everybody knows your name, except it is not mine, it is my family name. My partner’s family are like rock and roll stars, and it has been wonderful to be here for the 4th and longest period of time. At my core I love being an observer of people, and have quite enjoyed myself in getting to know the personalities and histories here among the related friends and relatives. It is a different world of relationships from my all-American upbringing. I miss being home, and will be returning next year, indefinitely. What a descriptive word that is…I don’t say permanently, but indefinitely. We’ll settle back into the house we bought 6 years ago, and make a home of it again.
I miss the people I’ve had relationships with, but after 3 months here in the Philippines am developing connections that have me feeling the same sadness at leaving here that I had when I left other places. I’m so nostalgic sometimes, a reminding smell or scene from a tv show can make me teary. I’m both the spider and the bee in my ministry…weaving webs to hold things close, and spreading my wings to search. Ultimately one lesson I’ve learned here from all these feelings is how much belonging is a part of my theology of mutuality.