Where do you belong?

“Where do you belong?” / “Where is Home for you?”

Four simple words, yet they set off a wave of panic in my mind. We were asked this on our first day at SPP. I could not help but to feel annoyed at this question, and the apparent obsession with the idea of “belonging” and “home”. Why do we constantly seek to delimit our belonging? And mostly what does it mean to belong?

This word is commonly used, yet lacks a concrete definition. Even the essence of this term is blurry.

The speaker indicated that we belong to the place that we call home. But, in an age of ultra-mobility what does “home” look like?

I was born in Mexico, raised in a Franco-Mexican, and I currently reside in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

The obvious answer to where I call home would be Mexico. Nevertheless, every time I have gone back since I left for college, it has been a bittersweet experience.

I have realized that although Mexico City it is the place where I am from, today I have lost touch with many of the components of its essence.

The fantasy that I had built in my frozen dorm day by day melts in front of my eyes when I am there.

I feel alienated and invaded by a feeling of otherness in the place that I should be able to call Home.

My immediate response is wanting to go back to Macalester, wanting to go back to the place I now call familiar. However, whenever I am in Minnesota I cannot not think about Mexico.

I guess, being an international student in the US is a little odd. I have never stopped feeling like a stranger in America. You are reminded by misunderstanding cultural references, people pointing out at your accent and by constantly longing for your home country. But now that I go back to Mexico I do no longer feel like I belong. I was left in the middle, with a foot in both countries, without really fitting into either.

Thus, I wonder if our sense belonging has to be linked to a physical space?  Or if the notion of “home” as a geographical location is soon to become an anachronism.

Sites DOT MIISThe Middlebury Institute site network.