Los Angeles, United States
March 6, 2022

Welcome Home.

It was the customs agent who first said it. "Any food, alcohol, or cash? No? Great. Welcome home."

Then a parade of well-meaning folks who don't know me from any other stranger in their day. "It must feel good to be back." "Ah, so you're finally back and settling in?" "Where are you going to live?"

They're looking for a city. A town, a place, a building. A structure with a front door and some windows and a proper stable address. Somewhere that reassures the world view that "this is what we do, right? We go to one place and we stay there."

But I don't have one. And I'm not sure if - or when - I really will.

It's been almost a decade since I've lived in the US full-time, and each time I've come back, there's been the culture shock of this society - one that shouts for my attention on every street corner, one that treats every personal journey of identity as a battle to be waged in public. But for the first time in my life, I don't have culture shock here.

Instead, it just feels like another country, another culture that I'm both in and out of.

I belong here - my accent, knowledge of geography and history.

I don't - I can't bring myself to care about the pitched, artificially-created battle for ideology that is all anyone seems capable of viewing the world through. Masks or no masks. Guns or no guns. Gas or electric. It's a meat-grinder for the soul, and it's clear that nobody in this country is winning.

But at least thus far, I'm not in the meat grinder.


I do what I've done at other points in my travels. I figure out the questions that I'm going to keep being asked, and I come up with good answers that will make the questions stop. Not true answers. Not the deep uncertainty and exploration and questioning that's really on my mind. Just something to tick the box in somebody's head. Something to let me bag my groceries in peace. Get back to the car, the airbnb, the suitcases I guess I mean when I say home.

A few years ago, I'd finally found a version of home that really fit. But time never stops. The world is different, and coming from the extreme isolation of New Zealand, I don't know quite how yet. I'm different too, and I don't know quite how yet on that either.

Round and round, the same questions years apart.

Where are you from?

Where are you going?

Where's home?

Today, again, again, I don't have answers.

Be well,


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