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Where is Home

Where is Home?

In the movie Under the Tuscan Sun, Diane Lane plays a 30 something recently divorced woman who is moving out of her house.  When the movers come to move her things from her home, they repeatedly ask her…”What about the piano?”  “Stays” she says.

What about the sofa?” they say  –  “Stays” she says.  “What about the table?” – “Stays” she says.  Finally, the four burly movers ask her what she does want to have moved and she points to a few boxes in the foyer.  “Just those.”

Forward a few months later and the boxes arrive at a Villa she has purchased in Italy.  As she opens up the box and sees the items, specifically a small blue vase and a cookbook, she has a flood of memories come back.  Memories of her old life and times when she thought she was happier.

That small blue vase becomes her start point for creating a home.  In arranging and cleaning her bedroom she says, “Go slowly through the house. Be polite, introduce yourself, so it can introduce itself to you.”

As the movie progresses, each room is greeted individually.

So, did she bring home with her in those few things or did she create home there?

Home is a little bit of everything.  Home is:

  • Who you are mixed with
  • What is there,
  • And a bit of interdependence

Sense of Home

What is home in the practical sense?  I would argue that it is a place where you can relax and recharge, gathering energy to face another day.  It is comfortable and familiar.  It both a place and what is done there(house and community). 

When I lived in London, we did not come home for Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving being a major family gathering back home, it was difficult to be so far away.  To fight back the feeling of loss, I decided to create Thanksgiving in our little flat.  That was a struggle, especially since it was just a regular Thursday in the UK and they do not have turkey’s until Christmas.  Even with the struggles, the activities of preparing the food and watching the parade from New York and perhaps watching the Rose Bowl made our little flat in London feel like home.  The smells, the activities, the conversations and of course a few calls home.

I figured out what I needed from the community and even enlisted local help.  Together we created a day that was familiar while also being new.  This brought us a sense of home in the little flat, thousands of miles away from “home”.

Begins as the Maverick Loner

The fact that we choose to relocate across the country taps into our independent adventurous side.  This natural independence can work contrary in terms of creating a sense of home.  Because we can make things happen while not knowing much about the area, let alone many people here, our first survival mechanism is maverick loner.

We get it done and get it done, now!  By the time we land in the new place, we are so practiced at giving order and making decisions that the idea of letting anyone else in sound dreadful.  We are convinced, that will just slow us down.

Sure, we have met some people, but only as acquaintances and only when necessary and they serve a purpose.

Humans yearn for Community

We as humans, need community.  It is built into our DNA.  Even the most introverted, typically finds a way to connect and build a community around them no matter how it looks.  Humans have evolved over thousands of years and our history has taught us that we are safer in a community.  That is why it feels so awful to be shunned or left out.  Shunning removes the safety net.

So as we move forward into our new physical communities, know that part of home here will be built upon this place here.  Just like it was before

That is because the community provides a piece you need to feel at home.  But this is not everything.

Knowing what to Expect

No matter the place, each one has a certain rhythm and provisions of which we partake in .  Initially, it is transactional.  We drop off our dry cleaning.  We pay for it as we receive clean clothes. There is comfort in that.

But eventually it deepens.  We pause to ask about their kids.  We notice when the walls get painted.  We may donate to the local soccer club they sponsor.

The expectancy becomes personal.  It morphs into a dependence, no matter how small, on each other. And so perhaps a smile is now expected and noticed when absent. They may call and check in on you if nothing has been dropped off for a few weeks.

The care and concern now runs along side of the original transactional relationship.  The expectancy will be seen at the doctors office, with a neighbor or with a receptionist.  It is a level of familiarity that fills one of the necessary sense of home pieces.

Bringing in the Familiar

Some of the most enthusiastic stories I get from EXPATs are about holding holiday gatherings for family and new friends in a place that doesn’t celebrate it.  Between the familiarity of preparation and celebration, and the opportunity to introduce new people to it creates so much of what makes a place home.

And this sense of home happens little by little.  The first time I saw a tiny bottle of Aunt Jemimah syrup in a local shop made my heart leap.  I had thoughts like I CAN make this work.

Like the little blue vase, we always bring the familiar with us because it is part of who we are.  The familiar provides cornerstone in for our sense of home.  A solid place to step off from where we find our footing so that we can explore what we do not know.

It is from the familiar then that we bring in the new to craft our local sense of home.

New Home is the Old Home

So really, the new sense of home is the old sense of home with a few additions.  All throughout life we add and subtract from the live we live.  From our sense of home.

Looking back your childhood home is not your adult sense of home or just after college home.  Home, what it is, changes for all of us…ebbing and flowing as we learn, grow and experience life anew.

Home is something we take with us wherever we go.  We do have those things that spark precious memories like when Francis opened that box in Under the Tuscan sun.  And some of those, we are able take them from place to place like grandma’s cast iron skillet.

And then there are others like my grandmother’s house in Michigan, that I will never see again, but will be part of me and bring me loving tender memories each time I see it in my mind’s eye. 

Home is with you everywhere you go.  It is part of who you are, what you do and  the things that come in and out of our lives.

This is GOOD NEWS. 
Because home is always a thought away and therefore home is always with you.

If you are ready to learn how this works…
click the button below, choose a time and let’s chat. 
You can take home with you.