Going Home

When you move every few years (which John and I did even before this whole crazy Foreign Service thing, thanks to the Marine Corps), you quickly learn that "home" has nothing to do with geography and everything to do with the people you love. I don't really have a home anymore - my parents no longer live in any of the houses I grew up in or even in my home state. John and I don't own a house, although we'd like to some day. I definitely feel attached to certain places, like my parents' house here in Montana, because it's been in the family for almost 15 years and John and I got married here and have spent many happy vacations here. But it's not home. DC isn't really home. And Russia sure as heck isn't home.

But next week, when I leave Red Lodge and head back to DC, I will be heading home as far as I'm concerned, because John will be there to greet Jack and me at the airport. DC is also where my twin sister and best friend, Sarah, lives, so it's extra special. And of course I have some wonderful friends in the DC area who I can't wait to see. We may not have an actual house to live in yet, but as long as I'm surrounded by my support crew, it will be the closest thing to a homecoming as it gets for me.

Sometimes I worry about how my kids will feel growing up, with no real sense of home. Jack thinks he has houses all over the world: the Russia house, the Montana house, Aunt Sha Sha's DC house, even the Paris house we've stayed in a couple of times. He's desperately trying to understand geography right now, although the difference between a country and a state seems to be an elusive concept. This morning we were Skyping with John, who happens to be in Abu Dhabi at the moment, and Jack wanted to know what the heck had happened to Turkey (the last place Daddy was visiting). Montana has been home for the past few months, but now we're off to somewhere else for a year before we go to Peru. It's a lot for a four-year-old to grasp, and I sometimes wish he had a place that he could consistently call home. Then again, maybe growing up believing the whole world is your home isn't such a bad thing.

Home is where you hang your hat, at least sometimes.

What about you? What do you consider "home," and how do you make yourself feel at home when you're a million miles away?


  1. I love the idea that your kids will believe anywhere in the world is home. It's very romantic. I bet its hard to move so often, but very cool!

  2. Nice thoughtful piece Mara....keep it up

  3. When we lived aboard Sea Venture, she was home, no matter what body of water she sat on or what country we walked on when we shopped or visited. I loved that nomadic lifestyle because our boat cocooned us. Not so when we drop into hotels, though apartments abroad felt like home. I've not lived that life with children, and I love your stories of Jack and the ways you cope. Thank you for opening a window for the rest of us.

  4. Hi, I randomly came across your blog. My husband is a marine corps pilot, who wants to join the State Department after his service is up. Great blog to see what this life style would be like!


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