Home is the place where one feels most loved. It is where a child’s first memories are made, where the strongest relationships are formed, and it is the place people run to when the world gets too much to handle. But things can change in the blink of an eye, and home no longer feels like home. This is what first-time author Mary Yuan experienced, but she is determined to turn her pain into a way to comfort others going through something similar.
Mary Yuan grew up in Beijing. From a young age, she was proud of her cultural identity and heritage. At 15, Mary started her first business. She and her team of 30 dedicated teenagers sold over 200 handmade silk fans painted with Chinese calligraphy and their corresponding English translations to a clientele consisting primarily of foreign dignitaries and multicultural individuals.
She then moved to the United States and studied at Emory University, earning a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. Mary Yuan’s experience of living abroad and her interest in cultural identity fuelled her pursuit of the meaning of home and belonging.
In 2016, Mary Yuan received news of her parents’ divorce. “I was devastated,” she shares, “I felt so betrayed, lost, and unloved.” This experience changed her perspective of her life so far, and the associations she made with family and home. With all the pain she felt, Mary started seeking a place of warmth, somewhere nothing bad would happen, space she could call home.
At that moment, Mary Yuan wished she had a book in her hands that could tell her what to do and expect. “That is part of the reason why I decided to write a memoir. I wanted to share my heartfelt and vulnerable stories with the world. My hope is that this book can inspire others to explore the meaning of home and rebuild trust with their loved ones,” Mary says.
Her memoir, “Where is Home?” takes readers along her solo travels in her pursuit to find a new sense of home after her parents’ divorce. After losing the stability of her home life, she chose to break away. Although Mary has explored the world before, traveling took on a new significance in her life as she used it to grieve and rediscover who she is.
In “Where is Home?” Mary recounts the lessons she learned in the time she spent away from her family. She also shares the experiences she had in her path to healing, saying, “The purpose of healing is not to move on as fast as you can or bury the pain ruthlessly. Healing starts the moment you embrace your new reality, and try to actively rebuild the broken link of trust, happiness, and home. When you find your way out of the pain and trauma, the awful memories of the past can be laid to rest.”
Mary Yuan has embarked on a journey to find healing and a sense of home, and she has also dedicated her time to creating a community for others searching for the same thing. Mary is currently building an online course and community for expats, travelers, international students, and BIPOC young adults who struggle with their multicultural identities. Mary says, “The mission is to foster a supportive network where people can build their happy places and embrace their true selves.”
As an extension to her book, Mary Yuan started a podcast also called “Where is Home?” In her show, Mary invites individuals from various walks of life and backgrounds and has them share stories of defining home and building a robust sense of identity.
Mary has succeeded in turning her hardship into something creative and helpful. She says, “We cannot change the past, but we can decide how to live in the present and create the future.”
Mary Yuan’s memoir, “Where is Home?” will be released in major bookstores in December 2020. The hardcover edition and audiobook version narrated by the author herself will be released in spring 2021.