There’s no place like home … but where is it asks Bec.
“We live in Sydney. But we belong in India.” A friend of mine was told this on a flight recently. It struck a chord with me. I feel the same tugging between two places that I love and it led me to consider the question I had been struggling with recently, “Where is home?”
I was born in Australia, I grew up in Australia, finished school and university, learned to drive there. My parents, my brothers and their families live in Australia. In some ways, I feel like I belong to Australia. My roots are there and my passport says they claim me.
Yet Nepal has an equally important place in my heart. I felt that I became myself when I first went to Nepal, discovered who I wanted to be. Whenever we travel to a new country, we change. It is not possible to be the same person after experiencing a new place; it slaps you awake, making you see your home through different eyes. I have been fortunate enough to travel a lot and love the thrill of discovering a new culture, a new tradition, the history out there in the world, the way people experience festivals and happiness differently. It fascinates me. But Nepal made me feel so alive; I describe it as someone filling up my tank with energy when I am there. I feel like I belong in Nepal.
But it’s more complicated than simply having two places to call ‘home’. I have three adopted daughters in Nepal, I have responsibilities there. I have a house which I love spending time in and which I call my home. But I will always be considered a foreigner there, subject to the Nepali tendency to see foreigners as a source of money, as volunteers, as temporary. And visa-wise, I will always struggle to find a way to justify a reason to be there.
It is for this reason that I find myself in Australia for a few months, waiting for the time to tick over so I can return home to Nepal, enjoying the ability to reconnect with my family and friends. Or that’s what I thought I was doing. My eldest daughter is with me after several failed visa attempts. My younger two remain in Nepal. I hate being apart from them. But there is something soothing about ‘fitting in’, about not always being perceived as the outsider, about understanding how things work, about having the lights go on when you turn on the switch and about having hot water every time you turn on the tap.
So I sit at a crossroads, asking myself the question “Where is my home? Where do I belong?” How do I decide where to spend the majority of my time? Nepal is a challenge for me with visas and to earn money to support my family, but my girls feel comfortable there and my soul soars when I am there. Australia creates challenges for my daughters with visas and the cost of living is much higher here, despite the fact that everyday life is in some ways easier and being closer to my parents and brothers is great. But my heart isn’t alive in Australia, it doesn’t feel fulfilled.
There are over 220 million people not currently living in their country of origin, making this ‘floating tribe’ of people building their tapestry of life from pieces collected and earned from places other than their place of birth, the fifth largest nation on earth. This number continues to grow and I hope it allows us to change our global focus of commercialism and consumerism to a lens of compassion, giving us new connections to rebuild our world together.
In the meantime, for me, home is a work in progress, a series of connections being built, a jigsaw puzzle with an invisible picture. I feel incredibly fortunate to have two places to call home, places where I have deep rooted connections, people I love and places that inspire me.
Pico Iyer summed it up perfectly –
“Home has less to do with a piece of soil, than a piece of soul.”
Bec Ordish – Women’s Empowerment
Bec is passionate about learning and about life. She wears many hats through which she explores her passions, including running the Mitrataa Foundation, an organisation she founded 13 years ago to provide women and girls in Nepal with the skills and knowledge to empower themselves. Her dream is to be an inspirationalist – someone who inspires others to believe in themselves and achieve their dreams, to find their gift to the world. If we build on what is working, on our gifts and passions, we can tackle any problem faced by the world. She lives in Nepal with her two daughters, Nimu and Saraswoti. Bec can be contacted at www.mitrataa.org
Life Balance = Laughter. Cuddles. Conversations.