Where is home?
Leaving pieces of yourself behind in the places you’ve lived.
Last summer, after going to university and living in London for two years, I spent a few months in my hometown, Bergen, Norway. It was strange, because I’d had a turbulent year in London — finding good friends, but also being forced to spend time with people who were on the opposite side of that scale. Those not so nice people, who reminded me of my childhood bullies, made me really look forward to coming home. Feeling at home.
Soon I found that nothing was the same anymore. Home didn’t feel the same. Sure, my family was there, my bedroom looked the same, I’d kept in touch with friends from school — but I wasn’t a natural part of any of that anymore. It was like I’d changed, over those two years, but everything else had stood almost still. I was the puzzle piece that didn’t fit anymore.
On an outing with the family and some of our friends, I had a conversation with a woman who has traveled around the world, lived and worked in all sorts of places, and somehow wound up in my small hometown.
Because I knew she would understand, I mentioned to her that I found it difficult to have parts of my life split between places, to have friends in different countries, and that it made me feel like I wasn’t entirely at home anywhere.
She replied something along the lines of:
For every place you live, you leave a part of yourself behind, and that’ll make it a little harder to feel at home wherever you move to next.
My instant thought was, of course: am I turning into Voldemort? Have I left a piece of myself, as if I made a horcrux, both in Bergen and London?
Of course part of me will always be with the city I grew up in, and have so far spent the most of my life in. Of course the three years in London will stay with me, and I hope I’ll keep the friends I’ve made there for life. But now, when I’m ready to move to another city, am I splitting my soul for a third time?
I keep asking myself whether it’s all worth it. Will I ever truly feel at home somewhere again?
One thing is for sure — staying in London isn’t the answer for me, three years there was great, but enough, at least for now. I’m sad I won’t see my friends there as often. Those friends who are the main reason London feels sort of like home.
Staying in Bergen isn’t an option either, although I have my family here, and a few of my good friends still live here. But as of now there isn’t anything here that’ll help me towards the life I want, career-wise. So what else can I do but try out another city?
I hope I’ll find new friends, make new memories in a new place, and that it’ll all be worth another part of my heart, without making me less human…
I hope I’m not actually turning into Voldemort.
Perhaps home isn’t just where I’m from or currently at, but the sum of all the people I’ve met, that have made me feel home, in all the places I’ve been.