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December Meetup Recap | Home:
People, Places, & Feelings

The December 2022 Meetup concluded an incredible year of Zoom meetups filled with shared journeys and collective navigation of mixed identities. This meetup also marked an important phase for The Mixed Space (TMS), as our host Mike Avila and TMS’s CEO, Lili Steifel, announced pausing monthly meetups beginning January 2023. 

On a bittersweet note, our community shared senses, rituals, and memories that create the feeling of home. From the support felt by their community to the trees that provide the air we breathe, meetup members proved that no matter where we are in the world, home is something we create for ourselves.

Meetup host Mike Avila Mike started the evening by saying, “we want you to leave this space feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, [especially] in a time of year that can often feel a little bit hectic.” He explained that when coming from mixed backgrounds, “home” can span across various cities, states, countries, and cultures. Under these circumstances, it’s not so easy to define home. “Let’s honor that home can mean different things to many different people,” Mike said, encouraging us to recognize our unique paths on our mixed journeys.

The meetup began with a writing exercise to invigorate our senses. We were asked to think of a home we’ve lived in, currently or in the past. Mike then guided us through each of the five senses, prompting the group to write a sensory description of that home. He mentioned that whenever he moves into a new home, he has the ritual of cooking beans, allowing the aroma to renew and kickstart new memories.

Our community discussion opened with the question: how have you modified your definition of home throughout your life? Community member Gladys shared her journey as a queer person and the importance of cultivating a supportive chosen family, saying, “I’ve grown to expand my idea of [who is] home and who I’m comfortable with, and who is my family. And that’s, like, the people who actually make an effort to be a part of my life.” 

Community member Heather shared that she has lived in five different cities in twenty years. She expressed that no matter where she resides, home isn’t as much about getting to know the houses she’s lived in but, more importantly, the roots of the plants surrounding her. “My community starts with trees, and then it ends with the people,” she explained.

Mike asked about rituals to make a place feel like home. Many community members agreed that cleaning their homes physically and spiritually keeps their place warm and welcoming. Community member Chardae discussed her recent feelings of loss but found that by collecting small things, such as rocks, she honors the nostalgia that was once part of her identity.

Our group discussed renting versus owning and its impact on the concept of home. The community discussed the challenges renters experience trying to create a sanctuary on property that is owned by someone else. Raising the question: does temporarily living somewhere allow us to call it home equally as those who own their property?

Returning to our senses, community member Nada mentioned how certain scents bring her home. “I don’t really have an image of what home is,” she began, “and when people ask where home is, it’s complicated… [so] I associate certain senses with home. If it smells like food or sandal, red or musk—to me, that smells like home.”

After our two breakout sessions, where everyone dug deep into their senses of what creates home, we concluded our evening with our final whiteboard session of the year. Together we drew pictures of home, attested to what makes our home, and placed into the universe how others could find a home when feeling lost. Although bittersweet, we couldn’t have ended a full year of meetups on a better note.

As we say goodbye to monthly meetups for now, we will continue to stay in touch through our website and social media. We wish our community a healthy and safe winter season and remind you all that at The Mixed Space, you are always home. 

Chat Gems:

“One of my rituals is to watch the sunrise & sunsets; also, a good yoga session from my new home space makes me appreciate the space.”

“I have a ritual of making chicken adobo for the taste and smell of home. If in a new home, I make it as a gesture to neighbors and new friends.”

“Sweeping the floors with a broom is a ritual I like because it reminds me of my grandmother, who was always sweeping.”

“…looking at the connection between home as safe and the ability to connect with people in the bigger community.”

Community Resources:

Check out Mike’s Playlist!

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk

On Houses – a poem by Kahlil Gibran

Pale Blue Dot – quote by Carl Sagan