I am a girl gone international because I call more than one place ‘Home’ – Girl GI
When do you call a place home? Is it when it is the address on your ID? Is it when it is the place where you sleep most often? Or is it more conceptual than that? Is it a person? Is it a feeling?
Home is where the heart is.
Home is where mom is.
Home is where you’re wifi automatically connects.
Home is where I can run around with my eyes closed.
There are a lot of such combinations around online. But the only thing what matters is what it means to you. I’m curious to know how many places you call home!
For me, it is quite complicated. I have lived in many places for varied periods of time: Mechelen, Paris, London, Barcelona, Bhubaneswar, New York… I wouldn’t call all these “places” home though.
Mechelen is where I grew up, where I went to school, where most of my family lives… I lived through highs and lows here, achieved milestones here, spent most of my time here. I have a deep connection with ‘my’ city. Of course this is a home to me. But within this city, I have three places I call home. My friends never know where I am when I say “I’m home”. Am I with mom? Am I with dad? Am I with grandma? It can get quite complicated, even for me!
I lived in a host family in Paris for two weeks. But it feels less like a home than London, where I also used to live for two weeks in a host family, to whom I have returned multiple times already and where I am always welcomed as a second daughter. Nevertheless, London still feels more like a place of discovery than a home.
Barcelona, on the other hand, is home to me. The city itself. I lived in one host family for a month for a language course and another 6 months when I did my Erasmus exchange. The smells, the atmosphere, the streets, the general views… Barcelona is home. Every trip I came back from, I was happy to step out of the plane, out of the bus, and smell the Barcelonean air. I knew I was, totally, home.
India is home. Although it is more complicated than that, again. I will never truly fit in in a country where I look too different, don’t speak the language, can’t handle the spiciness of the food, and will never completely understand the culture. But I sometimes say: it’s the people that make the place. And this is truly so for India. My friends have made a place that is often called hell-hole by people my age home. I reached milestones here, I changed, I learned, I fell in love, I was pushed out of my comfort zone so many times… I have family here now, too. India is definitely home. And yes, the fact that the arms, that so often held me, are still there is a big part of this feeling. (Gosh, now I’m gotta be careful not to get too emotional! Moving on!)
Lastly, New York. I easily found a routine here, but I wouldn’t call the Big Apple my home. NYC is like one big system. When you live here, you are just one of its many moving parts. I loved the vibe, the pace, the atmosphere that airs an everything is possible if you work hard enough and can keep up attitude. But because of this, it will never feel like home. It was too much like a movie. Surreal.
Home is where I can be myself. Home is where I lived, changed, where I made the most memorable memories.
Where/Who/What do you call home?