I grew up in a lot of different places. People ask me if I was a military child since it’s easily assumed with all my relocations. I proudly tell them, “No. My parents were nomads.” It isn’t far from the truth. I’ve been blessed to have attended a preschool, five elementary schools, two intermediate schools and four high schools. Basically nearly a new school every year. 

I got to make a lot of different friends. Some I still keep in contact with. Some I laugh about as I remember crazy memories about all the different times we goofed off. Some are better off in my past.

I got to make new experiences. Some with education. Some allowed me to fall in love with the passions that are near and dear to my heart. Some taught me who I am and what I didn’t want to be.

But most of all, I got to figure out home.

In Seattle it was home because it was the time in my life where I remember my family the most happiest. I remember the early paper routes. The (I swear to you it was a real stuffed) human statue. The times we’d spend at Toshi’s Teriyaki or Uwajimya. I remember the Wizard of Oz play and the time the wind knocked down our squirrel Sammy’s tree. Mostly I remember it because it was my first experience learning about God.

Waipahu became my home because it was where I got to watch my sisters become band geeks. I got to watch my cousins play football. I learned about gangs and the violence they bring. It was in Waipahu where my grandpa taught me how to cook Filipino dishes. I remember being awestruck with his ability to chew an apple without teeth.

Ewa Beach became my roots home. It was during the roughest time in my life I found shelter attending PEP Class. I made incredible friends, more incredible mistakes, and learned insurmountable more life lessons. It was in this town that I made memories with my mama on the beach. This town had me running bare foot with hitch hikers and fire ants attacking my feet. It was this town that steered the way to defining home.

Hilo became home because it was there that my family settled. It was there that as a little 8th grader I was under estimated in how great I am at understanding football. It was on this island I fell in love with basketball. This small island life town reintroduced me to God and I became a Christian. And at the church with the music playing drawing me in I found home.

Home was the guy looking at me as I sported a basketball jersey walking into his Grandfather’s church.

Home was the guy who said he loved me two months into dating me which freaked me out because I couldn’t be trusted to know what love was.

Home was the guy who through all my baggage held my hand and never let me go. Even when he should have.

Home was the guy who I asked a million questions to because I needed to understand what God I was serving and whether I wanted to serve Him.

Home was the guy who through sickness and health, rich or poor continues to prove to me that he’s my best friend, my confidant, my lover and my husband.

Home. Sometimes it isn’t a physical place. It may not have four walls. It may not have windows or doors. For me home hasn’t really ever been physical. It was always places that invited me to experiences, that held memories of better times and hard times to learn from. But, thirteen years ago home became the ring on my finger, the last name on the marriage certificate, the skipping of my heart when I hear him come home from work. Home became the goofy dances he does as he sees me dancing to the music in the kitchen or the way he still tries unsuccessfully to do the People’s Eyebrow. Home became the way he snuggles me in his sleep and the way he kisses my forehead. Home became the moment butterflies fluttered in my stomach when I hear him whisper, “Love you, Cara.”

Thirteen years today I found home. I found my other heart, my partner in crime, my shoulder to cry on, my joker when I’m too serious. Thirteen years ago I realized no matter how many homes I may have home is where my heart is. And my heart is intricately, lovingly and passionately intertwined with his.

Buon anniversario, zucchero. xoxo