At home in foreign soil

“We’re lucky today’s so clear.” Upon a grassy slope facing northwesterly, my cousin pointed across the valley. “You can see all the way to downtown from here. This is a good view”

Rose Hills is a pretty new, fairly large and rapidly filling cemetery nearby. Rose Hills is where my aunt is buried, and we went to visit her today. During the heart of the holiday season, the rolling green hills were (and I use this term with a degree of irony) lively with the bright reds and occasional whites of Christmas decorations, friends and family sharing the Holiday spirit with their dearly departed. My aunt’s plot a ring of tangerines, one of them unpeeled, and various flowers, all surrounded by a tinsel fence supported by white pickets.

My mom and my cousin were talking about the arrangements that had been made for my aunt. As the conversation moved onto how my grandparents had already bought a piece of real estate in Rose Hills already, I started to think about where might I be buried.

Look at it this way. My grandparents, probably much the same as many of you, spent the first third of their lives in China, the second third in Taiwan, and their last in Los Angeles. Did they ever, could they ever, have imagined that they would find their resting place here, thousands of miles away on the other side of the largest ocean in the world? There’s no way they could have known that their nation would have to flee to a tiny island but a toss away from the land they were born in. And how could they have known that they would later follow their optimistic children to an even more foreign country? A country where the people looked different, spoke differently, lived differently, and thought differently?

As the world becomes ever more mobile and global, what faraway places might we call home at one point or another? And in what soil will we finally lay in, what will be our “view” from there?

I was born in Southern California and have been here nearly my entire life, so I can’t comprehend what it’s like for my grandparents, or even my parents. I have a feeling it’s not that bad, though. Gong-gong and Po-po could have picked anywhere in the world to be buried, and they chose LA. “Home is where the heart is.” That’s all I can say.