The sun was just rising as I closed my suitcase and jumped into the cab and told the driver to take me to the airport. It was a little chilly outside. I was not sure if it was the lack of sleep I experienced, staying up until early hours with friends in my new town, or if it was the change of seasons that simply showed its true colours.
Nevertheless, a few hours later I landed in the country I was born in. It was grey, cloudy, and very far from welcoming me back from my stay abroad. Unsure if I was happy to be back or already counting the days for when I was about to leave this country next time, I received a text message saying “Welcome home!”…
this is where I stopped and stared. For a moment I did not know what to feel.
I just came back from a couple of months abroad, my absence from the country did not seem to make it look any different, it was pretty much just the same way as I left it earlier this year. And as I stared myself blind on the word ‘home’, I felt that it was the wrong place to call ‘home’.
For not longer than three months I had gone to bed and woken up in a totally different country, where they speak another language, eat different food and closes all shops on Sundays. It was somewhat different to what I was brought up with, but for the past three months it was where I the place I called ‘home’. It was where I had my toothbrush, where I made my groceries and where I went out for a run in the mornings. Suddenly I was back in the place that had been my ‘home’ for several years, and the funny (?) part is that I took me no longer than three months to change my perception of my former home, and create a new one.
My previous ‘home’ was no longer my reality. Even though it looked just the same. It smelled just the same. It even sounded just the same. The only thing that changed, was me. My feelings towards the place. And my feelings were no longer telling me that I was at home. This was not where my everyday was, where I had my slippers or where I made my laundry. This place however was filled my memories, everywhere I turned reached into my mind, remembering me that I have been here before, what I have been through in this place and what happened. It was not a neutral place, not at all. But my point is that it was not ‘home’. It was actually far from ‘home’. My ‘home’ in fact, was a plane flight away. I needed to go through passport-control and customs, before I would be ‘home’ again.
I guess that’s exactly when I asked myself “when did my new address become ‘home’”?
Honestly, I have no answer to my own question. Somewhere in between of unpacking, getting lost in the city, having a first laugh with a new smiling person and trying to figure out the language… the place I now stayed in had become my ‘home’, and for whatever reason, I liked it. There was a feeling of freedom over the whole experience, telling me that I was capable of creating myself a home, without any help from my closest ones – they were all far away, not in the new place I was in. ( Of course, they helped me by being there in heart and mind – and sometimes on the line when I needed them the most – but all in all, I made it myself. And I felt pretty good about it).
At the very same time, I realized how fast life changes. Exactly three months ago I was packing my bags and I went to foreign lands to explore what life could be like for me. It ended up becoming my ‘home’, the place I where want to be, the place I miss when I’m away, the place where I run my life.
And just as good and fun as that sounds, it is also sad and a bit frightening. It’s sad to know how your ‘home’ is never a stable place, or does not need to be anyway (I mean, unless you are forced to or want to, there is nothing saying that you have to change location at any point in your life). And it is a bit frightening to know that ‘home’ in one place will someday (if you move) be lost, maybe forever. And that feeling of losing a home is rather unhappy feeling in some regards I find.
So, life creates surprises for us. All the time. It is not a matter of good or bad surprises, it’s how you tackle them. As for the ‘home’… I figure, there are many ways how to describe the concept of ‘home’. I believe however, that home is where the heart is.