Home.

Home is where the heart is.

Home is where love is.

Home is where my Mum is.

Home is where you make it.

Those are some of the definitions of home that I’ve heard over the years.

Checking my phone for the umpteenth time today, I see that it’s now 16:30. Today’s the one day I’m hoping that Google Maps and Airport Road traffic don’t let me down. If everything goes according to this driver’s trust me on this, I ply the airport route at least thrice a week, I should reach my destination in about 29 minutes, just in time for the 17:30 boarding time. Great.

With every form of drag, stress and mishap that I have experienced today, missing my flight shouldn’t even be one of it.

I make it in time. And of course, all the credits goes to Mr. AB!, the Bolt Driver who really knows his way around the areas and roads in this city.

I smile at the attendant while she gives me my boarding pass.

I’m going home, baby!

But that smile doesn’t last for so long.

Somewhere at the back of my mind, I’m reminded that this city that I’m leaving, this city that I moved to about 7 months ago despite all the odds, this city that has defined a good part of my life these few months, definitely feels like home too.

I’m torn. Isn’t home supposed to be one place?

I don’t think about it too much. I’m more excited about the shock that I’ll see on my parents’ faces when they see me, because for all they know, Zoë’s probably on her way to her Church’s Friendship Centre in Abuja. A part of me is also thinking that if these people are truly my family, they should know by now that surprises like this one aren’t so far away from my reach.

I spend 12 days at home, but it wasn’t until the last day, while my Dad and brother escorted me out of the house, while I was on my way to the park, while I was wondering if it was the cold of the early morning or the words of Joe L Barnes’ Come Back Home that was bringing tears to my eyes, it wasn’t until those moments that I asked myself again;

Where’s my true home?

I think about how my parents now call me ZoZo — whoever put them on that, by the way, deserves a raise. I think about how my Mum now treats me like those relatives that come visiting once in a while — like a total princess. I think about how good it really felt to eat homemade food that I had no hand in preparing, I think about how my brother would randomly come from behind to tickle me and I’d scream my head off, I think about our Sunday evening traditions and prayers, I think about so much more.

I also think about the new home I’ve created for myself. I think about how my morning routines now look different from what they’ve always been. I think about how in this new place, no one knows me with my family, just this young baby girl that’s making things work as much as she can. I think about the night I moved into this city and how it just felt right from the onset. I think about the new people that have fast become family. I think about the new experiences, the new faces, the new spaces that I’m fast adapting to.

And, all of these made me realise that, maybe, just maybe home is wherever you make it.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve been blessed with an amazing house that you call home, or you’ve never really had a place to call yours.

Or maybe you’ve had to juggle two entirely different places that both feel like home, or the one place you always called home doesn’t feel like it anymore.

Or maybe you’re heading towards an entirely new space that kinda makes it frightening for you, and you’re wondering it it’ll truly become your home.

Home is where you make it.

Another thing that truly resonates with me deeply, is that home doesn’t necessarily have to mean a place, a city or a house where you live.

It can also represent a space that allows you to be your imperfect self, a place that allows you to grow. It’s the collection of moments, the memories and the interactions that fill you with so much peace and joy, so much so that you cannot explain. It’s the experiences that mold you.

It’s the people you find solace in. It’s the people that make you feel seen. It’s the people that made you laugh and cry, it’s the community of people that had a part to play in you becoming who you are.

But then again, it may not be totally dependent on people.

Home for you, can be you.

Home can have nothing to do with the permanent or temporary people in your life or those you have around.

For you, it can be the sound of your own laugh, the crinkles in your eyes when you smile (hehehe), the feeling of pride when you get something done, the energy that you exude, irrespective of what life throws at you.

Home for you can be the life you’ve made for yourself, the real connections you’ve built with others and nature, and the people who have felt pure love, just because they experienced you.

I hope you realise that through life, you’ll always have different homes, and that you’ll always make new homes.

Home is where you make it.

A home is a place that accommodates your dreams, a place where you continue to find pieces of yourself, over and over again.

I hope you find your true home.

💙

Inspired by Marisa Donnelley.

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