When I walk in the city, I can feel the power of homeland everywhere. The second day I arrived in Detroit, I and the rest of DukeEngage team visit the Heidelberg Project aiming to beautify the neighborhoods by arts. When we walk in the neighborhood, we talked to an old lady siting in a wheelchair with white hair. When talking about Detroit, she was so energetic and exciting. She said she has lived in Detroit for fifty years and Detroit is the best city in the world. I could feel her deep love of her homeland, and I started to think the meaning of home.
Last week, I went to Always Brewing Detroit with my colleagues at Techtown. Always Brewing Detroit is a coffee shop located in Grandmont Rosedale, and opened by a graduate from Techtown. Always Brewing Detroit gave me a homey feel, and what caught my eye is four old ladies siting together talking about their neighborhood. I did not interrupt their conversation. I did not mean to eavesdrop, but spontaneously attracted by their energy. They were passionately talking about their community and discussing how to change it. They spoke like young people with ambitions and aspirations. I can feel how much they love their community from their smiles and their tone of voice. I can feel how strong the power of homeland is and I started to understand maybe this is the reason why Detroit can rise from ashes.
Home is a powerful and magic word. It defines us and gives us power. I always cook food in the kitchenette, not only because I love Chinese food, but also because when I cook the food, I can feel culture and love behind the food itself. Actually, I never cook at home. When I lived in Detroit, I tried to remember the food cooked by my mom and cook myself. One common dish is stir-fried shredded potato. The key of this dish is to cut potato into very thin strips. At beginning, I paid attention to every strip, but after ten minutes, I lost my patience, and strips became wider and wider. At that time, I understood how hard for mom to cook for me everyday, and I could feel the love when I was cooking. Cooking reminds of me of the feel of home and constantly gives me power. This power is intangible, but I can feel it by my heart. No matter what difficulty I meet, I always tell myself everything is okay. No matter what badly I fell in trouble, I tell myself at least I have a home to go back, and there is someone who loves me. Home makes me brave.
Home is a belief. It makes people believe no matter how bad their homeland is, things will become better eventually. This is why Detroit fell in a “post- apocalyptic” collapse 5 years ago, but now, the city teems with a “post-post-apocalyptic” optimism.