Rich – To begin our first blog of the New Year, I have a question for you: Where, or what, is ‘home’?
Throughout my 42¾ years, I’ve lived in 23 different houses/apartments, in 13 villages/towns/cities, in three (or four, depending on how you count them) countries, on two continents. During our Christmas vacation to the UK and Germany, we visited several of these places, and it got me thinking about what ‘home’ actually means.
I first ‘left home’ in 1988, exchanging the tranquillity of rural England, for the excitement of university in London. While visiting my parents one time, I remember upsetting my Mum by referring to London as ‘home’. Now, there was certainly nothing homely about any of the places I lived during my four years in London. Each year I would swap one dodgy student accommodation for something equally rough. So was London home, simply because it was where I spent the majority of my time?
Strangely though, when I was actually in London, home always meant my Mum and Dad’s house, despite the fact they only moved there a few months before I left. By that reckoning, home was always a place different to the one I found myself in, which is a bizarre thought.
After London I moved to Liverpool, which is somewhere I never really thought of as home. However, looking out from my office window each day, across the estuaries of the Mersey and Dee rivers, I could see the hills of North Wales where I was born. Even today, part of me still considers that place to be home on some level, despite the fact I haven’t lived there since 1981, and my only real tie to that part of Wales is a handful of family.
So does that mean that home is the place of your birth?
For the last eight years I’ve lived with Sue (and Jaspa) here in Canada, and I know we’ll live here together for the rest of our days. If that’s not home, I don’t know what is.
So why is it that I still occasionally catch myself referring to Britain as home? Am I just a rootless wanderer, or is ‘home’ an intangible concept for most of us?
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