I do not have a home. For, if it is a place where all your friends and family are, a place you have inhabited long enough to form roots and the strongest of emotional attachments, then this place does not exist for me. Or, rather, it exists - but it is very different from the one most people have.
I cannot help but think of a brilliant, fragile soap bubble blown by a child's breath, whisked away by the lightest sigh of Lady Fortune. I have drifted from continent to continent, from one circle of friends and mentors to another, again and again. Of Jewish-Ukranian background, I was born in a metropolitan area in Russia; having lived at the outskirts of Karachi, Pakistan, for three years, I returned to my native country only to abandon it all again to emigrate to the United States of America in the hot summer of 1993. From a tiny apartment to a high-rise development in a growing part of the city, to a tropical residence with 5-feet-long Varanae Salvator lizards leisurely basking in the sun on the open verandas, to an aged colonial in a quiet, friendly neighborhood ...
It has been an amazingly long, short life. The multitude and variety of my experiences seem to defy the brevity of my existence, a mere 17 years. Seventeen years in a world where many people are born, grow up, and die in the same quiet neighborhood, never venturing beyond the overcrowded and overhyped excitement of theme parks and guided tours. I have had first-hand, real-life experiences which go beyond any showcase or excursion, which have brought me in close contact with the everyday lives, concerns, and delights of human beings around the world.
Just as a soap bubble, I reflect the world that surrounds me. I have moved from place to place, changing colors in my spectrum, ever adapting, improving, growing. I have seen Muslim mosques and Russian orthodox churches; I have attended services in Judaic temples according to the religion of my ancestors. I have communicated through Arabic, Germanic, and Cyrillic languages. I have walked the majestic Red Square, redolent with the glory of the Slavic tribes, and the busy, glittering Fifth Avenue, the capital of modern wealth and style. The elegant script of Arabic neon signs streaked across the car windows and reflected in the deep browns of my eyes as I drove down the brilliantly lit streets of a vast Oriental port city ...
I do not have a home - or, at least I do not have one in the most conventional sense. They say that the entire planet Earth is a living, breathing, intelligent organism called Gaia. That is my home. Not a street, not a city, not even a continent - it is the entire planet, with all its cultures and civilizations, brilliant, beautiful, magnificent.
So what makes me different from the fragile soap bubble? It is my soul. My soul, which has been shaped by these experiences - and is stronger than ever. I know exactly where I am coming from and where I am going. I am taking control. I am grateful, for these experiences have enhanced my soul, giving it volume and dimension, making it shine and forever stand out. What you see is not just a superficial rainbow; it is what I am: thoughtful, multifaceted, dynamic. These experiences have taught me the value of being open, inquisitive, confident. They have given me many wonderful insights. I struggled with the complexities of a new language, but, ironically, this has ultimately become an advantage for me, as I now have multiple outlooks, multiple views and approaches to many conventions and banalities which usually inspire little thought.
And after years of search and discovery, I have so much to share - and yet so much to discover. -
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.