A Different Sense of Home
About two weeks ago, I shifted house for the 21st time in my 20 years of living.
Cliche tells us that ‘home is where the heart is’, but when you have pieces of your heart scattered everywhere, what does that leave you with?
A very different sense of home, I guess.
I have lived in all kinds of houses; town houses, apartments, duplex houses and even a warehouse. After my parent's divorce, my teenage years were spent living between houses; sometimes that meant running three doors down the road, other times meant bussing three and a half hours across Sydney.
When I moved to Auckland two and a half years ago, I moved in with my grandparents. I was lucky enough to live in their dream house designed by my incredibly talented uncle. It was the most beautiful house that I have ever had the pleasure of living in.
This recent shift wasn’t a biggie. I am still in Auckland and still living with my grandparents. We only moved a suburb over from where we were - but I kind of suck at moving. It always takes me a while to stop missing where I've just been and start adjusting to my new surroundings. It's like the sight of cardboard boxes and packing tape makes me a little bit (more) insane. For a solid week and a half, I woke up at 5 am to frosty mornings, skulled a coffee and downed some cereal before leaving the house. I’d come back late at night after everyone was asleep to an unmade bed, a bedroom full of boxes and a mind full of tasks and to-dos.
The other night was different. I arrived back from work earlier than usual, just in time for dinner. On that particular evening, the late-autumn chill was amplified to an Antarctic sting outside (quick disclaimer, when I talk about the cold, bare in mind that I did grow up in Australia, so I am probably exaggerating). But anyway… I walked into our new house and the warmth inside defrosted my frozen fingers. The living room was filled with the familiar smell of my grandma’s roast potatoes and the giggles of my younger cousins. All of a sudden, this house started to feel a little bit more like home.
Although I somewhat envy people who can pick the fruit of trees they planted as children, or have a height chart scratched onto a door frame, I am beyond grateful for everything that my gypsy kind of upbringing has taught me. It has kept things fresh. There have always been new people to meet and new neighbourhoods to explore. It has opened my mind to different ways of thinking and expanded my world to incorporate a whole lot more incredible people than I ever knew existed. It has challenged me to be grounded in the right things - not in an accumulation of objects or possessions. It has given me a love for creating beautiful environments that make other people feel welcome and at home (In other words… party at our place anyone?!).
Houses can be bought and sold, but home is a feeling. For me, home is where everyone is welcome, even when things are a mess. Being one of four children, and having half a million cousins, home is where there is noise - laughing, screaming, and rugby playing on TV in the background. Home is my grandma’s desserts and family dinners on a Wednesday night. It is the early mornings sipping coffee and talking politics with my grandpa. Home is banter with my little brothers. It is walks along Curl Curl Beach with Mum and walks to the local Woolworths supermarket with Dad. Home is where I go to recharge after a long day. It is where I can wear my ratty old track pants with my hair chucked up in a messy bun and no one even cares. My idea of home can’t be confined to four walls. It is somewhat to do with places, but a whole lot more to do with people.
What does ‘home’ look like or mean to you?