I’ve been home for almost three months.

I’ve been struggling to redefine my definition of home for almost three months.

You see, the problem (and the blessing) with leaving theonly place you’ve ever known as home is that you discover that home is not a geographical place, it’s not the people you’ve known the longest, and sometimes it’s not even the people who share your blood. You discover that home is a group of people you met a month ago. You realize home is a city you’ve never been to in a country where you can’t even speak the language. You discover that home is everything surrounding you and everything you’re away from.You discover that home is a feeling, and that that feeling isconstantly changing, adapting, and growing.

Home is the fuzzy feeling you get inside your tummy when you look around you and realize you’re surrounded by people whom you care for. Home is relaxation, peace, love, and joy. Home is trust. Home is appropriate challenges. Home is comfort. Home is hard work. Home is Carrollton, Georgia. Home is Quito, Ecuador. Home is Tena, Ecuador. Home is Athens, Georgia.Home is anywhere. Home is everywhere.

When leaving my first home last August to embark on the year I just completed, never did I think that I would ever consider myself “at home” in Ecuador. Never did I think that I would feel like I was more than just another extranjera, never did I think that I would feel and be apart of a family that I hadn’t even met yet. But- it happened, and now, I’m left trying to figure out how to fit all these worlds together.

How does a girl raised in Georgia who loves lipstickand sunflowers combine herself with a girl who is Ecuadorian at heart and loves hiking to Amazon waterfalls and feels happiest dancing the night away to bachata and while helping her mother make muchines de yuca con cafe with a college student struggling to balance calculus, work, and a social life who dreams of a life in South America?

I’m not quite sure how to answer that question yet, but I do know that because of the things I’ve learned this year I’ll be able to figure it out and I’ll be able to define my home no matter where this life takes me.