Defining home can be tricky for Mash-Ups, whose family and cultural anchors can span generations, languages, and continents. Home can be in a state of constant reconnecting (as Aminatou Sow puts it) or it can be the same house you’ve lived in your entire life. No matter who you are though, home is personal, full of your rich memories and your history.
Need tips on how to make the most of your temporary stay? How to make your house a home? Sage advice on must-do rituals in your new one? We’ve got what you need right here.
Alex Laughlin, a Hapa-Korean-American Mash-Up and creator of Other: Mixed Race in America, is an expert on uprooting your life and plopping down somewhere new. When nowhere is home, anywhere can be home. She shares her hard-earned tips on how to make any place feel like home. And don’t miss her essay on discovering where she belongs.
Being Mash-Ups, we know there are many places you might feel at home. Your physical home is usually just one of them. We also know that blessing your new home with auspicious rituals from your culture is critically important. But which one is the most important? Mash-Up co-founder Rebecca decided to play it safe and do them all.
We eat with love at Mash-Up HQ. In our mash-up families — all families? — food is love. Food is also an expression of home, our connection to the people and places that make us who we are, to memories and history that shape our world view forever. Cooking, at its heart, is creating that home for ourselves — and a huge step in growing from a mini-Mash-Up to a grown one. Our Japanese-American Mash-Up Anna Ijiri Oehlkers shares her story of making her grandmother’s, and mother’s, Japanese comfort food while away from her family for the first time, and in doing so, taking her first steps to carving out a home for herself.
We’ve all experienced being strangers in a strange land. When you’re an Arab living in lily-white Wisconsin, sometimes the thing that makes you feel like less of a stranger is a cheese danish. Our Iraqi-Irish-American Mash-Up Reem Tara Totonchi explains.
For Mash-Ups who speak multiple languages, span multiple cultures, and have family stretching across multiple continents, the concept of “home” is a curious thing. What gives us a sense of belonging and comfort? What does home feel like? Is home a place, or a taste? Is it a person, or an idea? Hint: All of the above.
Aminatou Sow is the co-host of the popular podcast Call Your Girlfriend; the co-founder of Tech Lady Mafia, a group that’s devoted to women who work in and around the internet; and is generally a badass lady of the highest order. The Guinean-Almost-American Mash-Up is also a political asylee in the United States who has lived in multiple countries and whose family is currently living in political exile in Belgium. She is, she says, a nomad. So where does Aminatou Sow feel most at home? Wherever she is in the moment. Here are her tips for making the place you’re in — be it a strange country, a city, or an apartment — your own.