Many years ago, in 1902, as a result of the devastating eruption of Mt. Pelee on the island of Martinique, my great-grandmother fled her native land of Martinique and journeyed to Trinidad, where she subsequently was married, raised a family, and lived the rest of her life. In many heartfelt conversations, we often talked about the concept of home. We questioned where home was for the émigré and whether it was possible to experience home and homeland in different places. Was the notion of home confined only to one's place of birth, where memories of growing up and spiritual yearning to return were constant companions to daily living. My great-grandmother referred to these emotional longings as the "homing instinct."
Finding Home: A Sentimental Journey is a personal account of my migration to America and my own quest to determine whether the emotional fervor and affection for the land of my birth could be experienced elsewhere. My own wonderings included asking if homeland applied only to the land where one's parents are buried and the only place where one can obtain a birth certificate? Was there such a concept as an adopted homeland? My great-grandmother wanted to know whether the homeland of her husband could become her adopted homeland. If that was true, could one experience feelings of disloyalty towards the land of one's birth? She yearned to return to her beloved Martinique. When she did return, her home was unrecognizable, much to her chagrin. So much had changed over the years.
My journey to the USA many years later was for a different reason but by producttheless gave rise to similar questions and a determination to find the answers my great grandmother sought. In essence, my journey turned out to be one that spanned many years and was ably guided by the multi-faceted sentiments of love and commitment.