The wheels touch down, and I breathe. I have landed in what used to be “Home”. Or at least, that’s what the GPS claims. Yet, as I step out into the air thick with a scent that should trigger comfort, a dissonance hums beneath my skin. The landscape, etched with memories, stretches familiar but distant. I’m home, but where does that truly place me?

It’s a curious paradox, this homecoming that feels like an arrival at a foreign port. Years spent away, chasing horizons etched in wanderlust, have shifted the axis of my belonging. The faces, etched with kindness and wrinkles, greet me with open arms, yet in their smiles, I glimpse a stranger returning, not the child who left.

Conversation flits between “remember when…?” and polite inquiries about my “exciting” life abroad. But in the silences, a chasm yawns. My stories of sun-drenched beaches and bustling markets resonate like tales from another planet. Their lives, steeped in the familiar rhythm of routines and shared history, feel as foreign as the constellations I learned beneath alien skies.

I walk the streets, ghosts of laughter clinging to every corner. The bakery where I bought bread of walnut cake, the cafes where teenage dreams whispered amongst rustling leaves – each landmark a bittersweet echo of a self I once was. The faces, the shops, even the way the sunlight paints the houses – they’re all the same, yet irrevocably changed by the kaleidoscope of experiences I’ve woven into my being.

It’s not a rejection, this unbelonging. It’s a metamorphosis, a shedding of the chrysalis of expectation and comfort. The world has stretched me, cracked my edges, and filled me with stories that don’t quite fit the cozy confines of “home.”

And so, I wander this liminal space, a traveller in my own land. I soak in the comfort of familiar smiles, embrace the warmth of cherished traditions, and listen to the stories that bind me to this place. But I also hold open the windows to the whispers of the world beyond, knowing that this feeling of unbelonging might be the truest map to myself.

The white house that was once where I lived stands tall. People in it, the same, moods the same, words the same, and yet I feel like a stranger. I just don’t relate to them anymore. For sure, I’ve changed and matured, and they remain as they were. I am constantly battling with my inner self, biting my lips to stop myself from clarifying on things they are spewing, cos I don’t want to be the one to ruffle their feathers when things seem to be going jolly well for them as they are. I get ticked off by little things they say, even though it is all routine stuff. I try to stay away as much as possible. I lock myself up in the world of work, books or going out. I disappear to new cafes, and old familiar spaces just to get some “me” time. I begin to wonder why I do these trips. Who is getting “joy” out of it. Sigh~~~ 

For perhaps, home isn’t a static place, but a vibrant tapestry woven from experiences, connections, and the ever-evolving landscape of our own hearts. And in this homecoming that feels like an uncertain departure, lies the quiet promise of discovery. A chance to redefine belonging, not as a fixed destination, but as a journey undertaken with both familiar faces and the beckoning of the unknown.

So, I walk on, unmoored yet strangely free, carrying the whispers of both homeland and horizon in my heart. For in this paradoxical homecoming, I’m learning to find my compass, not in the echoes of yesterday, but in the embrace of an ever-expanding sense of self.

Have you ever felt this way?

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