I’ve been asked a few times if I have Heimweh (home pain – i.e. home sickness). The ease of contacting my friends and family in England is always there and that’s ultimately very satisfying and adds to the feeling of safety, security and comfort that I have found in Trier. As well as this, I’m lucky to live in a connected world that takes me from Luxembourg to London for pennies and in minutes.
In my life, my knowledge and understanding of home has been dismantled several times and after each disintegration, it has rebuilt itself into something beautiful and tangible that I carry around in the pocket of my heart. I don’t mean disintegration to blare out negativity. It has allowed room for something amazing to spring.
“We’ve recovered from the Willington Mill Farm years pretty well, all things considered”, Ali said smilingly. Our first eighteen years were showered with closeness, companionship and a home where friends and family sat around the table every night. The concept of home had to be somewhat altered once my parents left Willington, a place full of fiercely fond memories. My first time in the new family home in Oxford, I was relieved to recognise familiar items like our kitchen table, the heart of our home, where words of comfort and laughter fill the room.
The first time I considered “home” as a changing concept was when we left for university. Though it took a while for me to accept Southampton as my new home, the wonderful people I met there transformed it into so much of a home that towards the end of final year, I was looking for jobs in the area in an attempt to prolong the feeling.
The only time I’ve felt severely homesick was when I moved to Paris, which was a beautifully chaotic and informative spiderweb of feelings. The spider span his web everyday and I learnt that home constitutes the people you can turn to, the safe place to return to, not just when things are hard but out of the pure enjoyment of wanting to see and spend time with those you love.
Dad was waiting for me at Oxford station and with a last minute check for a clear road, I scurried across the street to greet him with a massive hug. I lumbered myself into the passenger seat, an action ingrained into muscle memory, and fastened my seat belt. I felt safe and my heart light and fluffy and glowing like when Mr Burns eats plutonium. Mum had made us a lovely dinner and we sat and ate and laughed about Marlon Bundo.
I decided to only spend one night in Oxford so that I could visit my childhood friends who now all extremely conveniently live in London – they’re like sisters. That’s such a cliché but I couldn’t mean it more. Though I was with everyone for less than 24 hours, every minute has been bliss. We’ve never been dramatic with goodbyes and there’s so much confidence in each “see you soon”. I believe it with all my heart.
Spend quality time with quality people. No matter how short, it’s so sweet and these brief interactions remind me how much I appreciate their presence. Despite its soppiness and my self-indulgence, I just wanted to share some love.
And to seal the nutshell, I urge you of your amazingness. You are fun and warmth and confidence and more. You are support and time. You’re honesty and openness, inspiration and motivation. You challenge yourselves everyday and of that I am in awe. Every act and gesture is full to the brim with kindness. You’ve shaped a home of warmth and sweet smells in my heart and I love you for it.