Immigration | Moving | Home

Home is Temporary — Before and After COVID-19

A Woman’s Relationship with Home and Change Over 35+ Years

Jessica Bolaños Vanegas
12 min readApr 12, 2020

I’m often told by U.S. citizens and those who want to be citizens but haven’t been able to get their citizenship or residency yet, that I’m lucky or privileged to live in the United States.

But I’ve never quite felt at home here. Neither did I feel at home when I visited my parents’ home country — Colombia. To some U.S. citizens, I’ll never be (North) “American enough” and to some Colombians, I’ll never be “Colombian enough”. That’s fair. I was raised in the U.S. by Colombians in a red state.

I often feel bad that others, whose families came to the United States to escape the violence, civil war, death and natural disasters in their countries are being sent back “home” after re-starting their lives here. At times I’ve wished I could trade places with a Dreamer, who is fighting so hard to stay here…or one of the hundreds of thousands of TPS (Temporary Protected Status) holders who have had to get out of the United States. I’ve thought of it as a type of one-for-one path to citizenship system. I was born and grew up in Texas and have been itching to re-start my life in another country for years. Why not let people switch places? Literally.

As a Texan born child of immigrant parents from Colombia, who came to the United States legally before I was born, I’ve come to know a different feeling than most (North) Americans, or immigrants for that matter, have about what “home” is.

I spent the first five years of my life in Houston. My parents owned and operated a food truck business called S & S Catering when I was little. (After their first names, Silvia and Silvio.) This was in the 80s–90s, long before food trucks became popular. They each drove a food truck to construction sites around Houston, selling breakfast and lunch to construction workers. They bought…



Jessica Bolaños Vanegas

Digital + Video + Social Impact. Storyteller. Documenting history as it unfolds. Co-Founder @Goodspero. TEDx-er. Former Contributing Writer @HuffPost. She/Her ❤