It was February 2004. I hugged and said goodbye to my parents at the Brunei airport and thus began my dream of traveling around the world.
I've been to many countries, even lived and worked in some of them. But mostly just a temporary base, a place for me to recuperate, save and plan for my next journey. I've never had a home; In the full sense that the word denote.
I've changed; I actually set out to change myself, my identity; like a blank paper to be filled with all the experiences, perspectives, ideas, etc. I could have and at the end to be the sum of all these experiences. I've done that. And I can honestly say that I am happy with who I am today. I am by no means perfect but I'm contented.
After being on the road for so long, I thought I have all I could want to have. But at the beginning of last year, a thought started to nag at me, the very thing that I have never had all these time, the idea of home.
I was almost always able to find a sense of belonging wherever I was; I could relax and recuperate at any place; all I need is a spot and I could find my center and feel at home. But the whole of last year, I had difficulty in doing that. I could rest physically but not mentally and emotionally.
So I made the decision.
It was January 27 2011, I came home.
Oh sure, I came back at the end of 2006. But that was like a visit and I was off again after a short 2 weeks. Now, I have no place to go. I am home...
... after 7 years.
It's so comfortable and relax; everything seems so easy and familiar. It's so nice to reconnect with my family and friends. I don't even have to do anything and they accept me for who I am. I don't have to start from scratch like I did in the cities where I decided to live and work. The sense of euphoria was compounded by the festivity of Chinese New Year and I truly enjoyed my first month back.
Then reality set in. Family politics began and I started to hear stories, not so nice stories about who did what and to whom, etc. The honeymoon period is over. I began to see flaws, flaws that I had known before but didn't have to deal with for a long time. And in these 7 years most of the relationships I had were temporary or long distant, if I had problem with someone or if I didn't like something, I could just walk away, start anew in a different place and start new friendship. But how can I run away from family. I have to learn to deal with them and they have to learn to deal with me. No more escape.
I feel that this trip home has a lesson for me - love. I need to learn to love others in their goodness and imperfection. I've spent so much time alone, looking out only for me, that it's going to take a huge effort for me to start to think about others and their needs.
On top of that, I find myself in a relationship!!! So, here I am, learning once again to love another person and let myself be loved by him.
So how do I love when I don't have to earn their loves in return and when these loves are given voluntarily, selflessly and unquestionably? And how do I love when there are flaws and imperfections?
There's only one place to learn about love, so here I am, home.