Towards the end of the Luna Moth, (Page 247) Rio describes that she is anxious and restless and that she only feels at home in airports. She also travels every chance she gets. This made me think about an overarching theme that is relayed in a lot of the novels we read in class this semester. For instance, in Once the Shore we discussed the sentiments of the characters not belonging and how they are far from home.
I saw this part as Rio not feeling connected in America nor towards the Philippines. Neither of these places feel like home to her and that they cannot fully belong to both. Both America and the Philippines make up her identity but she cannot place a claim to both.
I also was curious as to why she felt at home in airports. Then I thought that she finds comfort in constantly traveling and moving around. At an airport one is either leaving for a new place or return to the place they live but cannot always call home. The state of traveling is very neutral. Airports do not have an expectation and this is comfortable to some, which is perhaps why Rio feels at peace and feels at home.
What do you guys think of this?
2 thoughts on “Not feeling at home”
What you are describing here is unhomeliness, which has come up in class a few times. It’s the feeling of belonging to two places/cultures, but not actually feeling at home in either. I think your airport theory is correct–it’s a public, neutral space, unlike all the other spaces Rio is used to.
Loved this section, in particular her dream about becoming a moth. I found it interesting that in her dream, her and Raul are drawn to something, a place “what surely must be heaven.” She feels so lost and stuck between cultures and family, even her own life, but for some reason is still searching for a place that is heavenly. She feels that it is there, for her to find, even if she doesn’t know what it is. I so badly want there to be hope and I want there to be a home her, but as expected and true, it is “futile.” Rio along with many (almost all?) the characters we have seen throughout the semester, has internalized her unhomeliness to such an extent that nothing will ever be home. Her dream encapsulates the concept of unhomeliness almost perfectly: “Raul and I embrace our destiny: we fly around in circles, we swoop and dive in effortless arcs against a barren sky, we flap and beat our wings in our futile attempts to reach what surely must be heaven.” No matter how far Rio travels, how often she spends away from “home,” she will fly in cirlces and she will never find it, because the sense of belonging she is looking for from the outside world is entirely lacking inside of herself.