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When was the last time you visited your home country? Notice how we don’t go back to our home country anymore, we visit it. We go to reconnect with our family and friends. Go back to the restaurants we used to enjoy when we lived there. We revisit beautiful sites. We become tourists to what once used to be so familiar to us. Our destination is our home. 

When I moved to Miami from my home country, it felt strange and out of place. Back then, I pictured the city and thought of it as a spot where I could lay in the sun next to the beach and listen to the waves. Go shopping in these huge shopping malls that felt like mazes. Orlando and its theme parks. But now these malls are my local malls and I live 30 minutes away from that same beach. Six years ago it took two plane rides and a five-hour car ride to get to Orlando. Today, in four hours I’m in Orlando. My whole life is centered in what once used to be my vacation spot. 

The most bizarre thing was going to school in Doral. I remember my first day of school and how unknown the elementary school hallways felt. Now walking down those same hallways feels so familiar. When I started school, I struggled understanding the system and adapting to the language. Those first few weeks living here I was mad that I had to work on complicated math homework while being in Miami, one of the most popular tourist destinations. “The United States was like Disney to me” -Marcella Arnesen. 

The past six years I’ve progressively adapted to the new environment and culture. I would say that by now I have fully acclimated to it, but our lives are constantly changing and so are we. My home country will always be special to me, beyond a beautiful destination. “Home is where the heart is” -Nicolle Folchi 

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