Going Home

“Migration is a one way trip. There is no ‘home’ to go back to.” – Stuart Hall

Talked with my parents a few hours ago. My mum asked about post-graduation travel plans and flights home. It’s technically not set in stone yet since tickets haven’t been booked, but it’s basically been decided that I’ll be going back to Singapore after striding hopefully gracefully across a stage in a $25 rental cap and gown and no dress (something else, thank you very much) in the hot Minnesotan summer sun to receive the proof and supposed reward of the past 4 years of education.

It doesn’t feel real.

I don’t know where or how to start preparing for this. Moving somewhere else would be equally surreal, I’m sure, but it’d at least feel like something new – it would be. But this, going back home – yes, home, still a home, but a home I may no longer truly recognize, a home that has undergone numerous makeovers, facelifts, transplants in the time I’ve been gone – I don’t know what to do.

I guess it’s a sense of nervousness, the anxiety that comes with the prospect of meeting an old friend – one you still count as close to your heart but with whom you haven’t spoken for so long, you don’t know what to expect. How do you approach this meeting? Do you fall back on old patterns of interaction? Bring up the same jokes you were laughing about back when you were fourteen? Talk about that one girl from kindergarten who is now a successful singer? Do you assume familiarity or allow some distance for formality? How much does change matter, in the end? Can it upend the living memory you hold close to your heart? Should it be allowed to? Or does the heart keep holding on, though the relationship has changed?

“You can’t go home. Why? Because you are home.” – Marjorie Garber

Goodbyes already promise to be hard. But the hello may prove even harder.

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