Welcome Home

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They say, “Welcome Home” as if it’s a simple act.

A joyous event.

Like no thought needs to go into it.

It simply stands. As it is.

Welcome Home.

The first word is difficult.

Welcome.

An invitation

And therefore a choice.

Welcome.

Not an easy word to swallow.

For it was never your intention to arrive in the first place.

Welcome.

I picture a black gogo, wearing a doek, brighter than the African sun,

who has cooked you pap over the fire and ushers you to have the largest portion.

Welcome.

I picture a wrinkled, olive skinned, grandmother, with cheeks brushed with flour -a happy accident, as she lays before you aloo rhoti and yellow dahl,

the quantity enough to feed a Nepalese village.

Welcome.

They both sing in a language that tastes like home.

Starting with no choice and ending in places with an abundance of options.

Welcome they say.

Wamkelekile ekhaya

Gharmaa tapailaai swaagat ccha

The second word is a bit more difficult.

Home.

A place of rest, of love,

of safety and support.

Home.

A harder word to swallow.

I used to say, “home is where my mom is”.

Thinking it was adorable.

But the problem is when you believe that statement – you never feel at home anywhere else.

There is a deep aching and pain with never being able to find

a place of rest, of love, of safety and support.

Home.

An orphan of two countries, two continents, two hemispheres – always two, when all you wanted so desperately to fully belong to one.

Home.

And when the aching and the pain is too much, you can choose –

I’ll repeat

You can choose

to change the phrase to, “home is where mother nature is”.

Along her rolling, green hills to her vast expansive valleys

Feel her warm embrace as she sings to you:

Wamkelekile ekhaya

Gharmaa tapailaai swaagat ccha

Welcome home.

It simply stands, as it is.

Welcome Home.

 

Anupa Gnawali

Buddhist Retreat Centre, April 2018

 

Photo by Anupa Gnawali

© Anupa Gnawali