This week, tell us about a place that has helped shape who you are.
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I’ve always been interested in people’s evolving relationships to the places they’ve visited and loved, or once called home. In a short personal essay called “Home,” Hema Nataraju at Mixed Bag describes a trip to India, and how she reacquaints herself with its chaotic streets and intoxicating scents, her old childhood haunts, and her family.
Although I’ve never been to India, much of Hema’s writing resonates with me, transporting me to places that have molded me the way India shaped her. Her writing is relatable and evocative, and I appreciate how she expresses a sense of disorientation in a place . . .
The city has burgeoned beyond recognition. I feel unmoored, like a feather flying in the wind. Do I even relate to this place anymore?
. . . as well as how she eventually finds and understands her place within it:
A few days pass and I find my sea legs.
Finding inspiration in Hema’s piece, bring a place — a city, country, or specific location that means something to you — to life through your words, photographs, art, audio, video, or a mix of media. The heart of this challenge, however, is to go further and show how or why this place is particularly special or complicated or even painful — how, essentially, it has helped to shape who you are.
Of course, you may tweak this challenge in a way that makes sense to you. Other ideas:
- Tell us about a place that is a key setting in your life story.
- Tell us about a country where you feel most at home.
- Describe a city that challenged (or defeated) you.
- A place you once loved is no longer the same. Why?