A couple of days ago I was talking with a friend. Well, okay it has to be said that this person doesn’t know me that well; it was a talk to get to know each other…
Anyway, while talking I was saying things such as: “When I’m home I usually…” “My friends at home…” and more sentences like this, where the word “home” was present.
After awhile this person, knowing I travel a lot and that I no longer live in Italy, asked me: “What do you mean when you say “home”?”
At the time I answered Italy: where my family is, where my lifetime friends are, where I lived for 18 years.
But honestly, I thought about a true answer for quite a while.
It has been 2 years now since I lived in Italy permanently; the longest period I’ve stayed there since when I moved abroad is 2 and a half months, last summer. The other times I visit for maximum 1-2 weeks (Christmas, Easter, Autumn break…).
When I’m there for short periods time flies, days are spent eating with my family, going out with my friends, visiting friends whom no longer live in my hometown and discovering what changed from my last visit. I often don’t even have the time to realize I’m actually home, and it’s already time to leave again!
The strange feeling arrived when I stayed longer than the usual 1-2 weeks, because when you have seen all your friends, all your family members are not worried you didn’t eat enough…the “party” is over. Okay, let me be clear: it’s not that after two weeks no one cares about me, ABSOLUTELY NOT (my granny still calls me every day because “she can’t believe I’m home”, my mum still cooks me special food because “where you live now you can’t eat it”, my best friend always comes out with new food places to try, etc.…) but it becomes “normal” and of course people have their own lives: work, sports, school… a routine to think about.
The problem is me, my routine, my routine is not there anymore. My mom and dad go to work, my sister goes to school, my friends have uni classes to follow or work, and I… unless I’m there intra-semester and have to study, am “free”.
On the other hand, there’s me in another country, without my family and lifetime friends, but where my uni is, where my new friends are, my new room which I decorated to feel like home, my new routine, a routine that I’ve built over time.
So, where is home?
The first year I was living abroad I counted the days to go back to Italy, and days seemed to never pass. Now instead, every time I look at the calendar I’m surprised about how fast time is flying and the main reason is because in the place in which I am now, I’m totally happy and pleased (and yes, also because the first time you move out it’s not all rainbows and unicorns…).
But the point is, what I’ve understood:
Home is not a place, it’s a feeling.
And when you feel it, you are in the right place.
By the way, this summer I’m going back to Italy again but this time I’ll be working so…. I’ll be busy too!
What about you? Have you ever experienced the same feeling? Which are the thoughts that you’ve drawn out of it? I would love to hear about it!