I Call It Home | Brown University Undergraduate Application Essay

“I wanna go home!” I say as I sit on the kitchen floor watching my mother cook.

“What do you mean?” she asks, giving me a questioning look. “Ethiopia?”

“I don’t know.”

Home. For most people, the word can be easily defined as the place where they grew up or live now. By that definition, the house in which I have lived for the past seven years would be my home. The problem is, I often find myself saying, “I wanna go home,” while sitting in that very house. The other candidate is the place where I grew up, but that could be either of two places: my home country of Ethiopia or my adopted hometown of Westbrook, Maine. I cannot choose one over the other. For better or for worse, each has shaped the person I am today more than can be expressed in words. Ethiopia is the place where I experienced so many of my “firsts.” Maine is the place where I developed my individuality. At the same time, neither can truly be my home.

Though Ethiopia was my home at one point, it is no longer the same place I knew as a child because I am no longer that child. I can no longer relate to the culture the way I once did. As my sister often tells me, I have become “Americanized.”

On the other hand, I have never felt at home in Maine. The first memory I have of…

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