The idea of ‘home’ is tricky.
Although most of us eventually move out of our parent’s house to live elsewhere for most of our lives, we will forever refer to our childhood towns and houses as ‘home’.
Thanks to my parents’ inability to make a decision, and later my own inability to do so, I have moved not only to different houses, but also different countries and continents over the course of my life. You, dearest reader, may have similar experiences.
Yet, I am rarely homesick.
Because more than houses and spaces, I have realised that if I open my eyes, ‘home’ is actually all around me.
One thing I consider ‘home’ was the feeling I had when I got my first own room. I had to wait until I turned 12 to get my own room, and I previously had to share with my sister and even worse, my parents. My room barely fit a bed and a desk in it, but it wasn’t so much the space itself that mattered; it was the feeling of independence that it gave me.
I was able to have the privacy I needed to enjoy the first time falling in love, which was, of course, subsequently followed by the outpour of endless tears as I endured my first heartbreak.
It was also a safe place to experiment with make-up, hair and fashion ideas without being ridiculed. Because trust me, the things I tried would have been severely ridiculed.
And, of course, it was the sort of place where you could crank up Spice Girls songs and work on your hairbrush-holding musical career.
The feeling of having my own space can easily be replicated by having my own apartment, where I admittedly still occasionally resume the previously mentioned hairbrush routine in some sort of embarrassing outfit. But who’s to know?
The other thing I consider home is water.
I have always lived in coastal areas or on islands. Wherever I go, staring aimlessly at the horizon, seeing the sun reflecting off the water, hearing the sound of waves or the sound of sea gulls makes me feel at home.
With this also come memories of sandy sandwiches on the beach, fighting sea gulls as they try to attack said sandwich, and the added salt on the sandwich from the salty ocean breeze.
Finally, football is home.
Because my father never got to have the son he wanted, he decided that I shall be like a son, and I consequently spent a great deal of my childhood sitting on his lap and learning about football. My uncles and grandfather contributed to my knowledge by explaining how to swear, critically comment and yell helpful suggestions at the screen.
At the same time, it meant not participating in the knitting, cooking and other traditionally female-dominated activities promoted by my mother. While it annoyed her at first, the whole family was eventually inspired by our excitement about upcoming matches and joined in.
Whenever I watch football today, I remember grown men crying at loss, my mother cheering at the wrong teams because she didn’t understand what colour ours was, and my father’s proud kisses and hugs as he showed my awesome football critiquing abilities off to other fathers.
So, dearest reader, if you too are far from ‘home’, perhaps home can be found in something other than a town or a house.
What’s your cure for homesickness?