In 2013 we sold our house. So following my graduation from University I came home to completely different house to the one I’d been living in for the previous 21-odd years. A bit of a change. This second house was a rental whilst building our permanent, new home and so it now too has gone. When I return to the UK, once again I will be going back to a new house.
Being away naturally causes one to reflect upon the subject of home, and is something often discussed amongst expats. So of course I got to thinking about my own home. But I couldn’t conjure up an image. The house I left back in January no longer belongs to us. Prior to that, Durham was pretty much my home for three years whilst at University, albeit in various houses. And then the house I’ll be coming ‘home’ to this summer wasn’t exactly fit to live in when I left – no floor, stairs, windows, you know, the essential stuff. Other than the Blackberry videos of various stages of construction emailed to me by my very thoughtful Dad, I don’t really know what my house looks like. There is no ‘image of home’ to visualise in my head.
But then I realised, surely (for now) Buenos Aires is my home. It’s where I spend most of my time. It’s where I work, play, sleep and live. So that would be my home. Just as Durham was in the past. Makes sense, no?
Yet, Hereford is also my home. When I say I’m ‘going home’, that’s where I head to. It’s where I, for the most part, grew up. And it’s somewhere I will always go back to.
And then some people don’t have anywhere they could even to consider to call home… They may leave on the streets with no physical home other than whatever belongings they have. Or, quite to the contrary, they may live in a warm, dry, heated house but in fear of lies within, what they have to come back to each day.
So what if home isn’t a place? What if it’s a feeling? I’m sure I’m not the first one to write about this and I know for certain that I won’t be the last. Home is a place of warmth and comfort. Somewhere you feel completely safe and at ease. A place full of friends, happy memories and contentment. Where you run back to when things get tough, where you can heal again. This isn’t necessarily a physical place, it is a state of mind, a state of being. Home may just be the location that triggers that feeling. Or sometimes a song, a memory, a person, anything…
This summer I’ll be leaving Buenos Aires, and then in October I will be moving to London. So I guess I have two homes – Hereford is my constant (and is my first love, albeit with various breakups and reunions along the way), and then the extra one that keeps on changing. And that’s okay.