Toronto Zoo Landscape

Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave and grow old wanting to get back to.” – John Ed Pearce

Over the past few years, I’ve seen a lot of places and people. I’ve lived across three continents, and a different country each year. I’ve seen different styles of living, and lived amongst the locals and expats. I was always the odd one out, the one you can identify at a glance either through my ethnicity or by my accent. I was challenged by every country I have lived in.

I didn’t live like those stories that we often hear about living abroad. My adventures hasn’t been on the beach, or cashing in a whole lot of dough, but rather it was the side of the stories people never talk about. Perhaps the ones that people don’t want to hear. But it’s what makes life real. I struggled and I struggled hard. From language barriers to administrative to being constantly ill, life really got at me at full speed and forced me to catch up despite how hard things were. I was left with no choice but continue to keep pulling through.


Some people leave home and never come back. They call it the ‘travel bug’ where you are addicted to exploring and seeing the world. When you come back, you want to leave again to see more because there are so much out there in the world. I was once the same. I told myself that if I don’t travel and live in an exotic place while I’m young, I’ll regret it when I’m old.

But after years of battling solo and endless misery and misfortunes, I’ve had enough. Living outside made me want to come home even more. The struggles that I experienced made me appreciate Canada’s culture and mannerism. I missed the classic ‘sorry’ and ‘thank you’ at every corner of the street and people opening doors. I missed the basic ethics that I considered normal, but maybe not so normal in other countries. Every time I come home, I fall in love with the city more than I have ever before. And even though I don’t know when I will be back permanently, I know that someday I will. Because I love this city, and this will alway be my home.

 

Written by Charmaine | The Canadian Wanderer
Charmaine is a Canadian who has spent six years abroad and has recently moved home to Toronto. Prior to that, she has lived in Hong Kong, Singapore and France.