Actually, I’m something of a nomad and home is a vague and distant concept to me.
I have family and friends scattered all over; in England, Europe- even far away in South Korea. My parents are based in Kent and it’s where I mostly grew up, so is that home? I spent three years studying and living alone for the first time ever in Nottingham, so does that make it my home? I live in London, with my boyfriend & our cat (and hamster); this is a house in which I live, but this city is certainly not home to me. I’m not a fan of crowds, of noise, of heavy duty city living, and when I’m surrounded by it all I can’t write. I need to see nature in order to feel at peace and at my most creative.
When I was growing up, every year I spent some of the summer in my Grandparent’s tiny french village. Their ramshackle stone cottage once belonged to a shoemaker, and ten paces from the village church, every hour the silence and murmuring of bird song would be broken by melodic ringing of bell chimes.
As a builder, my grandfather built the house stone by stone, and together, my grandparents filled it with antiques and charm. All of my happiest memories belong to this house, and to my grandparents there.
When I was seventeen, my life seemed to take off; studying, then university, then working life, I didn’t have the chance to catch my breath and go back home. And before I knew it six years had passed.
Six years is a long time in a tiny hamlet of houses where the seasons mark the days and everything else is constant.
And so, last week, I went back; and like a snow-globe caught in time, it was as I’d always known it. The same ring of “Greensleeves” when you press the doorbell, the same smell of dried flowers and stone, the same canopy bed and marble floor and cackling witch in the cellar stairwell. And my grandmother, and forever laughing grandfather, the same too.
I got to spend time with my aunts, and my cousins, and family I’ve only just started to know as adults, and although wonderful, it does leave me a little homesick now that I’m back under grey skies on this side of the channel.
I wonder if home can be not the people, or the place, but the sum of both these things and more.
Home is where you are the best version of ‘you’.