The first home I can remember was a large house in Chungli, Taiwan, built by my dad for our entire paternal family. Plentiful plants adorned the weathered wooden doors and raw concrete floors of the three-story building. It was the perfect playground for me and my trusty tricycle.
And it was the first of many homes in my life.
But, what exactly is home? Depending on whom you ask, the answers will undoubtedly vary. Here are some thoughts on what home means from people spanning every decade and all walks of life:
Arjun Khurana, 6, kindergartner – “A good life.”
Gracie Breining, 12, seventh-grader – “It’s where you feel like you fit in and if you make a mistake, everyone still loves you.”
Madison Liu, 25, model – “It’s where you feel you know everything around you. Toronto, New York and Tokyo are the only places that felt like that for me.”
Eric Van Scharrel, 37, pastor – “Home is wherever there’s people you care enough about that you give them fridge rights.”
Jeremy Zoch, 42, hospital CEO – “Home is where you go outside and work hard to make your home even better for the people you love.”
Paula Ardron, 53, allergist/immunologist – “Home is family, a comfortable couch and a good book, a long table with lots of friends around it, and good food.”
Patrice Appold, 65, principal/teacher – “It’s where I have my peace and my personal space: my safe spot.”
Marv Laurente, 78, former Lutheran teacher/administrator – “Family, for us, is what God designed. We don’t get together very often, but when we talk and write letters, we’re home.”
Loula Koutroulis, 85, former FBI clerk – “We had a big backyard. We’d let the water run, freeze and then we’d have an ice skating rink!”
Eva Loeb, 93, former medical technician – “I think of the house I lived in for 60 years. There, I could watch birds and, first, my children and then, my grandchildren playing in the yard.”
Our family has lived in our current house for 12 years. It’s where our kids took their first steps, where we brought home our rescued puppy and where we pray together every night.
I hope the people, places and memories you cherish most fill your home, whether it’s a place where you lay your hat or a place in your heart.
Opinions expressed in this column are those of Nina Ha.