As an expat the idea of home takes on a new meaning. Where is home? Is it a physical place? An emotional place? Is it a place that I can return to? Have I outgrown the home that I once knew? You can ask me that question and depending on the day and maybe even with whom I am speaking I might say something different. But often times the answer is a bit fuzzy, clouded with memory and sometimes rounded at the edges and blurred in a way that isn’t recognizable. When I think of “home”, I think of sun kissed moments, smells, feelings, calmness, freedom and people that I care deeply about.
In the same line of thought, I asked a friend here would she bring something back with her when she moved home. She kind of tilted her head and looked a bit quizzical and said “What does that even mean?” Was her home here, in this temporary community and place? Was it where she came from most recently? Or was it more like my temporal feeling of place? I imagine that just as my answers are different, depending on how I am feeling, I am sure that they are different for other expats and people that are living outside of their childhood home or their nation that brought them up.
But, an interesting note on this concept is when I asked my kids where home was for them, it took them less than a millisecond to say “here”. I asked them what they thought home meant, and they responded shelter and being with the people they love. Their home is small, it is closely held and it is a function of their deepest feelings. It didn’t matter to them that they were born in a another country, or that their friends were from all over the world, or even that their very favorite ice cream was thousands of miles away. For them their instant answer was clear, enshrouded and deeply rooted in their sense of comfort, love and belonging.
So the images below were taken in our “home.” They are fuzzy and have soft edges, but if you take away this barrier of time and experience, they would be as clear and vibrant as the people that we surround ourselves with.