Creating Home

Written by Helen Yohannes, Illustration by Nicole Miles

What does 'home' mean to you? And how do you know it when you find it? Some say that home is “where the heart is” but for Helen Yohannes, there’s so much more than heart to consider.

Although home does not need to be defined by the place we lay our heads at night, some of us will carry the places we are from wherever we go. Some of us will carry with us the people who raised us, the lessons we’ve learned, and the love of the communities that have held us in our brightest and darkest hours.

Helen writes, “Growth can feel cruel; It takes away familiar circumstances in order to stretch and expand you.” The stretching and the expanding can be uncomfortable, but it’s in these painful, confusing periods we can learn the most about ourselves and start to name what we hold most dear. With each year, decade, and milestone that passes, our author takes us through the moments that have taught her not only how to create a home wherever she goes, but to recognize what it means to be home, and at peace with herself, no matter where she lays her head.

Featured story for April 2019

The lineages of women I come from are resilient and politicized. We pay tribute to our ancestors and pray to a God that has protected our country and people. I’m grateful for this sacred place, Eritrea, that keeps me rooted and grounded. Part of my identity, as a first-generation Canadian living in the African diaspora, is my experience with duality. Feeling like I have a home and no home in both places. Too Canadian for Eritrea, and too Eritrean to be an “authentic” Canadian. Sometimes when I am in my small apartment and I start missing my roots and my mother’s home, I go to YouTube and find Eritrean music to blast on my speakers and dance until I start to sweat. After that, I take my time to make a cup of joe and enjoy each sip slowly, like my mother would.
— Helen Yohannes

Nicole miles

Nicole Miles is an illustrator from The (warm, sunny) Bahamas now living in the (cold, wet, windy) United Kingdom with her fella and their pet snake, Mr. Toots (who is a real charmer if ever she saw one).


helen yohannes

Helen Yohannes is a writer, community educator, youth advocate, and mommy. She facilitates trauma-informed workshops on mental health, gender-based violence, healing, and diversity training. Helen has demonstrated excellence in her work with non-profits and community outreach.