Why Your Intuition Never Fails

Where’s home? Where’s home? Where ho…

I woke up infinitely repeating the question out loud. My lungs expanded and contracted rapidly. Sweat profusely rolled down my cheeks as my hands trembled.

In case you haven’t checked WebMd lately, this is what a panic attack feels like.

I just returned to the United States from a transformational 2 year stay in Colombia and a South American excursion.

I was safe and sound in the comfort of mother’s 3 bedroom house, but I felt displaced. Intellectuals like to call it “reverse culture shock”- To me it’s simply being lost.

My mother was born in Mexico and dad in Morocco. Both left their native countries to live a life of security and certainty in USA.

Answering the question, “Where are you from?” was always a complicated one. It was easy to name my birthplace, but my body never felt like it belonged there.

Our family tree is full of outliers. Some ancestors were from my parent’s native lands and others arrived to Turkey or as far as Spain.

The one place that colored my soul didn’t include red, white, and blue. It was Colombia that felt like home the minute my feet first treaded on the streets of Medellin.

Yet, while I proudly lifted Colombia’s flag at soccer matches, I had to remind myself that my ancestors never made it that far.

Me, wearing Colombia’s colors in Bogota

A New Hope

10 months after arriving to USA, I dusted off my backpack, packed some clothes, and left to Israel for a new beginning.

Having family here, I thought maybe I could find peace with the primary question of where home is.

The sense of belonging is unmatchable in Israel, however I always found myself slipping into a conversation “When I was in Colombia…”

As much as I tried to put it in the past, the taste of Ajiaco (a typical soup from Bogotá) lingered on the tip of my tongue.

One day laying on the couch at my uncle’s house in Zichron Ya’akov, my aunt called me over to the kitchen.

“Stephen, can you help me and pick up Natalia from her place nearby? She’s a relative from Colombia that just immigrated. I want you to meet her first.”

My heart dropped.

I had revised my ancestry many times in the past and nowhere was there a Natalia to be seen.

Turns out, there was a missing link on the tree and we discovered that my great grandfather was her grandfather’s cousin.

I rushed to my phone to tell my Colombian friends the exciting news.

Uncle and Aunt (Far left), Natalia (middle), and Me (Far right)

Completing the Circle

Knowing that I can call Natalia my relative gives me the comfort that there are traces of Colombia thats runs in my blood.

So where’s home?

Home is where the heart is.

Yeah I know it’s cliché and you probably wanted an earth-shattering answer. Yet the truth is, we’re all traveling souls whether that means moving physically or changing mentally over time.

What doesn’t change for most is where home truly resides and can be carried everywhere- The heart.

If you ever find yourself with the feeling that you were born in the “wrong” place, take a look at what country inspires you the most. A trip or doing ancestry research might lead you to find that your intuition is never wrong.

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