The plane descends. Its wheels hit the tarmac. “Ladies and gentlemen, the time now is 11:26am and we have arrived in Melbourne. For those who call Melbourne home, welcome home and for those visiting or in transit, we hope you enjoy your stay.”
As we exit the plane, I thought, which one of those three categories do I fit in?
I’ve been struggling to write about it or to even give the word a meaning that sits well enough in my body. Since the move to Melbourne and my first article on ‘Transitions’, I have written and I admit, ranted, about how new cafes, beaches and a new city do not make a home.
Which has left me with the question of, “well, what does?“
Home is a collection of memories. A place where you recognise and lose yourself.
I proceeded to ask family, friends and strangers on the internet (as one does) and the answers were varied but…somewhat similar.
Some described it as safety. A person or a place that lets you in without pretension, where you can be just as you are, naked, flawed, vulnerable and welcomed.
Some say it’s “imperfection”. Like walking into a space where the bed is unmade, sheets unwashed, there’s pet fur on the couch and a tear in the curtain only you know of. It’s no immaculate hotel room but it’s a reflection of who we can be, enveloped in its arms – a bit worn but always loved.
Mark (the other half of Pens&Lens) tells me it’s anywhere he has his shoes on – which I’m still trying to decipher and understand because… we’re a no-shoes-indoors household.
I’ve also heard that “home is a collection of memories. A place where you recognise and lose yourself”, which makes me think of a metaphorical Hansel & Gretel-esque place where every piece of the physical structure is made up of a favourite memory – a blanket sewn by grandma holds up as your roof, the scent of your favourite food always fills the home, frames line the wall, each with a moment or memory you could jump right back into.
If only it were that easy and lovely.
“You’re exactly where you need to be” the motivational post reads as I scroll through my newsfeed. I roll my eyes despite wanting deeply to believe it. It may have been true if I was reading it on the loo but there I was, waiting at the belt for my bag, wishing it would hurry up so I won’t have to cave in to the public bathrooms.
Then, it arrived. No, not my suitcase but the perfectly timed, perfectly worded #quoteoftheday. It was by Miriam Adeney, anthropologist, missiologist and author. It said:
“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.”
My bag finally shows up on the belt. I pick it up and re-read the quote. It was the first thing I’ve read in a long time that finally made me feel at peace, and, funnily enough, at home.
“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.”– Miriam Adeney