Life back at home

Hm, re-entry back to life in the United States, and San Francisco, has been more turbulent than I was expecting.  There was the first week where I needed to hide away from the over-marketed, over-televised, over-gaudy society that is the American Christmas season. That and everyone’s obsession with the traffic and the weather. And then a week spent in New York City exploring and visiting friends, and imagining if I could be happy living there. Christmas with my family. And now I’ve returned to San Francisco, where I’m trying to figure out the plot twists in my next chapter of life.

For a three-week stretch in November and December, I slept in nine different places. I’ve now spent three weeks sleeping in one place – a home in SF full of friends – and that has been great – but until I get a new job, I will be firmly engaged in a gypsy life, floating from friend to friend, and couch to couch. And that is a very strange, and very new, feeling for me.

It’s been six weeks since I arrived back home to this country – and I’ve been struggling to define “home” ever since. I no longer have my own apartment; I no longer have a job to give me a defined purpose and way to focus my days; I graduated from my Masters program; most friends are hibernating during January, so my usual social scene is very slow right now. And, perhaps most importantly, I got very comfortable with the slower pace of life in Kenya, and a more homey existence, complete with helpful neighbors and boisterous kids next-door. I realize now that I want my next home to include other people – no more studio living for me. Having a cluster of wonderful friends that are part of my daily life, creating deeper connections, that’s what will make me feel more connected and at home.

How do you define home?



Filed under Culture, EverydayLiving

4 responses to “Life back at home

  1. dmt

    right on Stephanie! I have known the gypsy life myself quite well and know that it can be disorienting. It’s also interesting to come back to the same place with new eyes. I agree that living with others in constant community is the way to go! I think this way of living is intrinsic to our nature. Being in Africa, the family or tribe mentality is everywhere. In the states and in much of the western world it is the opposite. Our autonomy is praised and in some cases, this is indeed a good thing but so many “individuals” become isolated from living and existing with others. I applaud your patience with the difficulties of re-adjusting to life in the states and know the feeling of not having a “home” can feel strange. When this happens to me, I try to find a sense of “home” within myself so wherever I go, wherever I exist, I have a sense of calm in the disarray of life’s circumstances. I hope the deepening connections with your friends and sf community make you feel this way.

  2. stephanie

    this quote from Nelson Mandela really sums it up:
    “There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”

  3. Brenda Samali

    I stumbled across your site randomly, it’s been refreshing to read of your ventures in a place i.e. Likoni I called home for more than 6 months (Dec 2010 until July 2011). Oh how I miss the watoto (children), mama, dada (sister), kaka (brother) and neighbours. I am now nesting (as I’m pregnant) in my humble abode in regional Victoria, Australia and think wow, this is a big house for one person (am waiting for my husband to get his visa so we can be together). I believe many people in developed countries have a lot to learn about the real meaning of community and sharing.

    • stephanie

      Thank you, Brenda, so nice to hear from you. You arrived in Likoni just as I left – what were you doing there? I’d love to hear more about your time there – so few outside Likoni have called it home! I hope to make it back someday. I’m starting a new adventure, interning at in Vermont in a month… if you’d like to follow along on my further pursuits into work with the developing world:

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