Returning Home: A Journey of Self Discovery
By Aura Imbarus
For as long as I can remember and according to all the experts, family, and friends I asked, “home” is a place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a household or is a place “where something flourishes, is most typically found, or from which it originates.” So, more or less HOME has related to a “place” where someone was born in, loves, is interested in or shows some predilection for. But, we also know that a house not necessarily parlays itself into a home. People can have many houses but probably only one home: the place where they feel most comfortable in. In my case “home for twenty-five years was called Transylvania, Sibiu, Romania; and now, for eighteen years, it has been called Los Angeles, California, the United States of America, or…. so I thought until recently.
If Transylvania’s name always places me under Dracula’s spell, Sibiu – Hermannstadt, the city where I was born in, takes my memory down the well- trodden cobblestone alleys alongside old chestnuts trees and to the emerald green Cibin river, where I used to ice-skate during frozen winter days and swim during torrid summers nights. To me, Sibiu is the Gothic and Baroque architecture sealed in each and every stone, brick, and mortar that has survived years of merciless Communist oppression; it is the chilly wind blowing the fallen leaves on a late September morning, trying to compete with the timid rays of a pale sun emerging through the grey clouds; it is the waft of cinnamon coming from Buni’s (Grandma) kitchen while she is preparing French toast for me; the soft skin, dark eyes and crystalline giggles of my Mother while she greets me in the morning, the uneven parallel bars installed in our garden and the heavy breathing of the well trained, muscular body of my Dad. To the outside world, Sibiu, my hometown, is a touristy place, attracting people from all over the world. Even if it has a small population of 147, 245, it is one of the most important cultural centers of Romania, and it was designated the European Capital of Culture for the year 2007. Formerly established by Transylvanian Saxons- people of German ethnicity, the old burg of Sibiu was ranked by Forbes as “Europe’s 8th most idyllic place to live.”
Los Angeles is a conglomerate of diverse, multi layers of races, languages, cultures, and religions.
After I won the Green Card Lottery in 1997 and moved to Los Angeles, to one of its South Bay suburbs – Palos Verdes Peninsula, the City of Angeles became my new “home” and, since the first day, I landed on its turf has never failed to impress me. To me Los Angeles is endless green coastlines, funny noisy squirrels competing with the seagulls for pieces of corn, fresh salty air caressing my lemon tree in the morning, raw tuna in Japanese sushi places next to the warm baguettes and lavender cookies served at French cafes, coconut chicken soup at Thai restaurants and freshly brewed Brazilian coffee at Starbucks places. It is red carpet shows, exotic cars, Cuban dancing clubs, 1920s art deco lounges, smooth jazzy environments that swap places with blues and country music; it is dim lights, white candles, sexy accents, white leather furniture with Swarovski crystals at high end plush lounges in Beverly Hills and stunning sunsets overlooking golf courses. To others, Los Angeles is a conglomerate of diverse, multi layers of races, languages, cultures, and religions. With its spectacular Mediterranean climate, breathtaking views of rows of mountains reaching up to and over 10,000 feet (3, 000 m) dark blue Pacific Ocean, LA is a sprawling metropolis ranked as the second largest city in the US, and one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world, with a 13 million and respectively over 18 million people, considering the Greater LA Area. The city is divided into over 80 districts and neighborhoods, and it is “home” for the American entertainment industry, renowned institutions covering a broad range of cultural and economical fields, being one of the most substantial economic engines within the US.
Both these places have given me a life I would never exchange for anything else in the world, and they also taught me that, even if they have always been “home” for me, home is not a place of origin or a final destination. Home is a state of mind, a peaceful cradle for your soul, a serene environment where You -as a human being- are coming in tune with You – your spiritual and emotional one and find an intrinsic balance. The Triangle of Equilibrium, where the mind, body, and soul are at peace no matter what the outside environment looks like, is called HOME for me at this stage in my life.
If Albert Camus was echoing my thoughts long before I was born, it is true that in the “midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.”
My winter lasted for a long time:
It took me five years of searching for myself in other people’s eyes, in their reflections of me, and in the places I visited and foreign countries I travelled to: Alaska to Belize, Panama to Singapore and Malaysia, Brazil to Switzerland, Morocco to France, Mexico to Austria, El Salvador to Italy and Greece; it took me five years of following and shadowing bright minds such as Dr. Brian Weiss, Dr Wayne Dyer, Dr. Bruce Lipton, Dr Robert Holden, visiting spiritual places such as Chichen Itza, the Mayan pyramid on highly energized days 11/11/11, the ancient city of Ephesus and the house of Virgin Mary; it took me two spiritual surgeries with Joao Teixeira de Faria or as well known by his followers as John of God in Abadiania, Brazil, to find out that Home has never left me. Home has never been anywhere else except in my own soul; it has been there all along, but it has been covered by years of disbelief, harsh rollercoaster, the suffering related to the loss of my mother, and the loss of myself in the midst of what it seemed to be an endless winter. That winter has fostered in it all along a bright, sunny summer – human’s natural state of being; the way they were created at birth.
Home is not a “place” to go but it is a “state” to return to!