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Published by Lê Quốc Khánh

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Published by: Lê Quốc Khánh on Feb 03, 2013
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Khanh LeDr. PoremskiENG 105Jan 29
2013Paper 1There have been many definitions of home ranging from a physical structure in whichpeople live to an abstract concept of culture: food and music. The former definition, in favor of 
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs,
argues that home, which is a safe and comfortable place forpeople, is a house in which people live in. On the other hand, the latter definition, which isspiritually constructed, defines home by the traditional food and music of a culture. Thosedefinitions, although seem to be contradictory, reconcile in a saying by Paul Gruchow inThinking of Home
, which I consider as a true definition of home: “Habitation makes a house a
home. The well-being of a home, therefore, depends upon the welfare of its residents
” (335)
.And it is the connection between the well-being of a home and the welfare of its residents thatmakes this definition of home different, for inhabiting is not only surviving day by day by meansof food in a physical construction but also interacting with other beings around, includingoneself. Hence what makes a place home are relationships among beings at home.Habitation, which is defined in the dictionary as the act of living in a place, may appearto be an abstract term but then is revealed to be an inclusive concept which contains an essentialaspect of life: interacting. Living without interacting is nothing but surviving. One may arguethat one can survive with just food, water and a safe place to stay. However, living in the formersense is omitting the distinctive difference between human and animals and that is the ability tocommunicate, to understand and therefore to enrich and learn from each other. Food and shelter,
indeed, help us in surviving and growing up day by day. Interacting with people, however, iswhat nurtures our souls and makes us mature. In interacting with people we pull out from theirstories their experiences which, through the complex process of learning, turn into our own.Possessing the instinct to learn, we as humans connect altogether through the growing experiencethat we have when we interact with other people. In the very end, we are no one but story-tellerswandering on earth, enriching our storage of stories and at the same time, sharing it with hope tomake our own connection towards other story-tellers.It is human nature is to make connection through stories. Home, to which everyone feels
deeply connected, cannot exist without people’s interactions.
A house without relationshipsbetween family members is nothing but a boarding house. A home is more than just a place toeat and sleep; it is also a place where I share, enrich and fulfill my life with stories from otherfamily members. Home is where I play chess with my father. Home is where I sit in the kitchen
and listen to my mother’s stories about
the marketplace while she cooks. Home is where Ibabysit my nephew while my sister makes milk for him. Yet home is not bounded under anyphysical construction. Home is the road on which my dad takes me to school. Home is a park where I go jogging with my sister. Home is any place where I feel safe and comfortable becauseI am with my family.Nevertheless, I do not want to limit my definition of home as a place that has strongpersonal interactions between members in a family. I want to expand the definition to a placethat has strong personal interactions among people. When I moved to the United States, I did notaccept the fact that the dorm is now my new home, for I did not recognize the kindness of myroommate when he offered to take me back to his house every break. I was surprised by anddoubtful about the generosity and hospitality of people around me. I was still reserved and shy,

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