Tomorrow I will fly to the city where I not only grew up but also where I spent all of my life except for the last couple of years. I feel like I am “going home”. I am excited! Excited to be able to hug my son whom I have been physically separated from for three months. We will have a chance to have more than a telephone chat or Skype visit. A birthday party for my Aunt offers me a chance to see not only my immediate family but in addition most of my large extended family: Aunts; an Uncle; a dozen cousins and the next generation of nieces and nephews. I am happy! Even though we communicate by telephone and email I miss them. I miss being in their presence. I miss being there.
Visits to my favourite coffee shop café are scheduled for each of the three days I will be in the city. Again I am looking forward to the opportunity to be with dear friends once again. I miss my friends.
The notion that I am “going home” has made me reflect. “What is home? Where is home?” You see I feel very much at home right where I am now. Albeit only for a little over a year, I call this city home. Family and friends grace my life and I live comfortably, feeling very much at home. Yet I have the feeling that I will be “going home”.
Thinking about the pull between the two cities, the two homes, has made me also think about the changes that my move from the family city to my new city has presented to me. I have found myself taking time to settle into a new routine, peering out different windows, walking down new streets, breathing in moist aromatic sea air and working in a new setting in a very old building. Embarking on the process of creating an atmosphere of hospitality to welcome new people into our home mimicking family group dinners and get-togethers that we used to attend. All these changes have brought with it a sense of being at home.
I thought about a recent trip my husband and I took to visit with our daughter who now makes her home elsewhere, in London, UK. I remember fondly how quickly I felt at home staying with her and her significant other. The memories extended to the joint trip we took to visit family in Ukraine and again just how at home I felt in a city and country so very different from my home Canada. It is interesting how the trappings of my home in Canada quickly disappeared into the back rooms of my mind; there was no longing for my bed or my music or my other clothes or whatever. Open communication with my family in Canada was the only thing I needed from here when I was away.
My move to a new city and my roaming around the world has made it crystal clear. “What home is” and “where it is” is not where my possessions are or in the building I live in. I feel at home wherever I have the good fortune of being with people I love and who love me.
I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.
Irene McDermott © 2011