“I need to catch the last bus home.”
“I must go home before I go to the gym.”
“I left my lunch at home!”
“I am cleaning everything now so I don’t have to do it when I come back home.”
“No, I can’t join for fika, I need to get home.” (Ok, no one actually said this, ever.)
The recurring element in these sentences? Home.
Everyone has a place they call home. It’s usually the place where you were born, or the place where you spent your childhood with bruised, skinned knees from all the jumping off trees until you learned how to land properly. It might be the place where you formed your first real friendship, or the moment when you realised how important your relationship with your mom is. It might be your first apartment or the one where you decided to get a dog and love it more than anything in the whole wide world. (The dog owners among you understand me, right?)
The point is: the feeling of where home is is so personal, so ambiguous and can change a thousand times in one lifetime. Some really tough patriots would say:
“No, home is where you come from. There is no other place you can call home.”
I disagree. I have had the luck to move around a bit in my life thus far, but I never truly thought about ‘home’ until recently, when I started saying sentences like the ones in the beginning of the post.
Then I started thinking back: I always considered Montenegro my home because my first important memories and social relationships took place there. My family lives there, my friends, my dog… But then when I lived in Shanghai, I also considered it my home. When I lived in Brussels, I considered it home. The best part is: I still consider all these places ‘home.’ They are like little Horcruxes I scattered around in the world (though I am not an [evil] witch). In muggle words, horcruxes are little fragments of my soul, for all of you who don’t speak Harry Potter. (google ‘muggle’ if you’ve really been living on another planet until now)
So the first time it dawned on me that Lund is my home was when I was packing for my Christmas holidays in Montenegro and said to a friend “I will clean the apartment and wash everything so when I come back home, I don’t have to do it” and the friend pointed out that I had called Lund home. It was a moment of, I don’t know, epiphany? But it’s absolutely true. The cozy houses, medieval buildings, narrow roads and cobbled streets that quotidianly endure the silent conflict of bicycles, buses and cars truly are crucial elements of this new home of mine. I even stopped noticing the fact that it rains more than it’s humanly bearable or that the sun is still a bit reluctant to come back to our part of the sky.
Maybe home is where you wear pyjamas all day, or where you can dance to the music of the 90s without being judged. Or maybe, home is about whom you share it with. In any case, home is where you make it. And for me, it’s in 4 countries so far, with current headquarters in a little studio apartment in Lund with a big windowsill perfectly fit for reading and drinking tea.
Where is your home? How long does it take for you to call your new city of residence your home? Are there specific conditions you want fulfilled before you can call a place ‘home?’ Or do you stick to strict patriotism?