Home is here. Home is now.
Home is Palma today, Hartwell tomorrow, Barcelona on Sunday.
Home is where I am. Home is where I’m not, where my family is, where my friends are. But where are they?
Home is Wolverhampton, the house I grew up in, the one my brother still lives in, except for when he doesn’t, when he’s driving his truck around the country five days a week. The city where my best friend lives, with her partner and their new baby. My things, in the attic. But not all of them.
Home is Hartwell, the place I stay when I go back to the UK now, my aunt, my uncle, my cousins. A village in the beautiful English countryside, a place I’ve got to know so much better this year.
Home is my official address, the one I share with my mum, my grandma, my uncle. Where all of my documents go. Where my grandy was and is and always will be in my memory.
Home is England, land of my birth, land of my family, land of the language which my life revolves around.
Home is where I am right now: Palma, Mallorca, finishing a CELTA course. An apartment just outside the ring road which replaced the city walls, within walking distance of the school which rents it for students studying Spanish. Next month it will be someone else’s home.
Home will be Barcelona and Bydgoszcz and who knows where else?
Home has been on four continents: Pfreimd, Borneo, Asunción, Metz, Ardingly, Brno, Newcastle, Leeds, San Diego, Vancouver, Chiang Mai. All home at one time or another. Many in multiple times and places.
Home is Sevastopol, caught between what has been and what will be. Where my things are. But not all of them.
Home is Durham, the place I return to again and again. A place I fell in love with on my uni open day, when I imagined myself there as a student two years in the future and twelve in the past. Where my favourite building is, a cathedral that I can’t get enough of, holding so many memories for me, and more every time I go back, but not to live, never to live, unless in the houses facing the cathedral across the river, homes I might one day retire to. How many other homes in between?
Home is my hammock in the jungle, my room for summer school, a canal boat or a cottage for a holiday.
Home is my hotel for a few nights, my flat for a month, my house for a year.
Home is my bedroom, the place I sleep at night. Home is my kitchen, where I cook what I can’t buy. Home is my suitcase, which comes with me everywhere.
Home is the internet, carried in my computer around the world. My friends online and off who I know are there for me, wherever I am. Other people’s homes waiting for me when I travel, welcoming me in with open arms, sharing their lives, their time, their kitchens.
Home is my photos, my memories, the space inside my head.
Home is tears, sickness, sadness. Home is distance. Home is a thought you hold in your head, a place to return to, ephemeral.
Home is laughter, happiness, health. Home is intimacy. Home is a thought you make real, a place you create, personal.
Home is a dream. A dream of a family, a husband, a home of our own. Where my things are. All of them. The things I buy for my future home to remind me of this time when home is everywhere. The cross stitch I do now to go on my wall then. A dream of stability, of health, of happiness. A dream of a future, who knows where, who knows when.
Come in and make yourself at home.
[inspired by Lemn Sissay’s Homecoming]