Is There a Place You Can Truly Call Home?
I love travelling and experiencing life in a brand new place. It’s that exhilarating feeling of discovery, of a new beginning that brings you a world of opportunities. And I’ve done it quite a lot. But as I was moving along, my luggage had got heavier and heavier. And I’m not talking only about accumulating exotic clothes and fridge magnets, but rather about the meaningful friends I made while on the road. I had to leave most of them behind as I was pursuing my own path.
Nowadays I’ve settled down faraway from my birthplace. I have a husband and a child, I have a full time job and we own a house. But I still don’t feel like I’m home, even after six years of leaving in my adoptive city. In fact, I often find myself dreaming with my eyes open about a magic place that feels like home. And I need to compose it in my imagination, with bits and pieces of every place I lived in throughout my life. Some of them, like my grandparents’ home or my student apartment, I get the chance to revisit sometimes. They all feel familiar and cozy. But I get that feeling I don’t belong there anymore.
What if home is not a place? Perhaps it is a state of mind.
For those of us who have been changing houses too many times, home is not a place, but a feeling. A feeling that is shaped by the smell of each pillow we laid our head on, and by the trace of wonderful friends we left on the map, as we moved further to the next adventure.
I live now in the most culturally diverse city in the world. I speak everyday three different languages to communicate with my family, the supermarket guy and my work colleagues. I have very few people around me with whom I can meaningfully communicate in my mother tongue.
Yet, at the end of the day, when I curl up on the couch, I need to be able to close my eyes and feel like home. Revisit every place that was kind to me, and every friend that made room for me in their lives. They are all part of me now.
Feeling home is what gives me strength every day. It’s that healthy dose of oxygen that I breath in deep before I open the door and venture into this alienating yet comfortable amalgam of cultures, flavours and languages. It’s my mental oasis in the Tower of Babel.