Being homeless

For the entire of my conscious life, I cannot remember to have stayed in a place that I could truly call home. I recall that this personal diaspora started when I was four years old.

From the time I stayed with my parents and sibling, that was when I was four, I remember moving houses at least four times, until we settled in the house where my parents are living now.

A member of a mountain tribe in Tuyen Quang Province, a Vietnamese and a Belgian friend with the author (expecting another change of panorama in the next six months).
A member of a mountain tribe in Tuyen Quang Province, a Vietnamese and a Belgian friend with the author (expecting another change of panorama in the next six months).

I am not homeless as defined by law. I am homeless because I have not stayed in a place and to have enough time to feel secure that for the next days, weeks, month, or year from the time of my first day of stay in that place I will not move again and leave the people I learned to love along the way. I feel so volatile, not a part of any community of people.

The most vivid of my memories were those when I was traveling not when I stayed in one place and created permanent connections with the people.

It’s funny sometimes when I’m left baffled as to what to fill in the blank address field for my C.V. for the probability of me changing my dwelling in the next three months is as high as me getting the job. But this fact is more often devoid of any humor. It’s not funny.

It reminded me during one of the many times I said good bye to people I seem not to have the courage to leave. When everything that is left is inside a blue duffel bag containing only the necessary: few clothes, some mementos, a book or two, and my laptop because I have to leave the rest, or throw away. Bringing them will just be too much of weight to carry.

For an individual to really see himself in relation to his environment, he needs to have a home. Something that I, the refugees in Somalian camps, the Kurds fighting the Turkish forces, or the Russian of South Ossettia, or the several millions Filipinos working in almost all places in the world do not have: a home that can provide security, and the necessary community where we can truly experience the support of our families, or the warmth of familiar views.

Being homeless, while seeing the world and its varied personae, detaches one from the experience of talking with loved ones in person, of letting them see one’s hardship, of letting them understand that you’ve never really liked to be homeless, if given a choice. They will never see you mature nor will you see them grow. For both parties, each is frozen in time, nothing added nor deducted.

But god, how I want to have my own home that I will not be required to leave anymore. A place where I can always go back to and rest whenever I feel that the world has gone extra cruel.

Where shall I be in the next six months? Another hopeless attempt to escape homelessness. Very funny.

5 thoughts on “Being homeless”

  1. i’m laughing while reading this one above. i do not think i’ll concede just because the person i am talking to has ‘more experience’ than i have. but what you said are indeed valid.

    i may not be politically correct all the time, but yes, i do not address older people with condescending titles that’s why i’m calling you just i.b.

    for your honesty, prost! (i heard it from somewhere).

  2. hej, i don’t play devils advocate in order for you to start doubting yourself, ha ha.
    funny about overhearing pinoys wherever one goes, hé?
    if i happen to have a different view of something, i’ll say it, but that doesn’t make your view any less valid.
    don’t make concessions to my being a ‘historical’ figure, ha ha, let’s avoid the words old, aged, or mature, shall we? respect for elders is fine (aw!), but not to the extent of trading in your own opinion.

  3. it’s white nights over here, so i’m getting time to go through your blog ;-). very interesting reading.
    as for filipinos scattered all over the globe, they do organize themselves into communities, for those who really want, there are places where people evn go to play mahjong, etc. i’ve heard especially hongkong and rome can feel very much like the plazas in the pinas on a sunday afternoon, with street vendors hawking puto, etc. :-).there are those whom we call barangays, it starts with a pinay who’s married a local, fetched her niece to be nanny to her kids, the niece in turn marries a local, fetches her parents, and so on, with the result that some of them have virtually transplanted their whole barrio here ;-).
    that’s not even talking about california, of course.
    you simply just had happened to land in a place where there are not too many pinoys, if any (a seaman once swore there was no destination on earth where the pinoys have not settled, looks like he never went ashore in vietnam).

    1. hey i.b, just returned from a manila tour with my siblings. hehehe.

      you have this penchant of finding fossilized posts i even forgot that i did write them. hahaha.

      thanks for spending time reading them.

    2. i think that it’s also a fault i could attribute to myself. it’s finding a home, meaning it should be actively sought. i did not.

      during my stay in hanoi, i was lucky enough to meet only one filipino, who that time was working for a singapore-based restaurant. it’s only when i went to saigon that i heard a lot of filipinos. i’m not the kind who says “pilipino ka no?” after overhearing them speak tagalog or cebuano. i only stood there beside them like i heard nothing and saw nothing.

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