September Days II - Home

There’s so much delicious magic in nesting. I feel like my life so far has been a long search for home. A longing to go home. I’ve moved all my life, having separated parents means going back and forth. Meeting in parking lots, moving from one car to another. Your mom’s new boyfriend, and their new flat together. You move in there. Your dad’s new girlfriend’s house, you move in there too. During the summers I slept over at grandma’s summerhouse with my cousins. The color coded toothbrushes for all of the blonde children, grandpa next to the fireplace and grandma making black-current cordial in the kitchen - that was home. At fifteen I moved away all on my own, to stay with other high school girls in a far away city. We survived on oatmeal and mom’s frozen taco pies. In the evening we talked about home, missing home. I lasted a year, before I went back to mom’s lake house.

Four years later I moved continents, to California. Thinking I belonged there, thinking I would discover home next to the beaches and palm trees. After every semester I moved place, looking for room-mates and apartments that felt like home. Not counting those random motel rooms and in-between places, I rented six different rooms. The only thing I brought from house to house was my mattress and a red lamp with a tiger foot. Once the honeymoon years were over, I craved Europe and didn’t feel at home in the land of yoga and wine and cobb salads anymore. I took the train to the airport; I listened to To Build A Home by The Cinematic Orchestra thinking ‘I will remember this moment for the rest of my life’. And here we are, I remember.

I didn’t feel home “at home”. The years away had alienated me; I didn’t belong in the north west Swedish small town among the birch and pine trees anymore. Even the language didn’t feel like home anymore, or how people didn’t smile when meeting me at the grocery store. In the midst of panic, feeling like I didn’t belong, I took the first opportunity I could get and moved countries again. This time to Ireland.

Ireland felt like home. The farmers markets, the sea, the rain and the book shops. People seemed stuck in a different century here, listening to music popular 10 or 20 years ago. Their hobbies hadn’t changed with time: people gathered in pubs and actually talked with each other. But finding a home, an actual place to stay at, was more than difficult. I was forced to stay in a hostel for three months, surrounded by strangers. Home was no longer a physical place, due to necessity it had to be a state of mind. A Starbucks, a friend’s place, the school library. I searched for home wherever I could find it. I found Andrew, then, and he became a place of home.

Close to the three year mark in Ireland, I started to miss home. Again, not knowing what that meant. I thought it meant Sweden, so I went back for half a year. I tried my hardest to nest (painting my room at dad’s place, buying decorative figures and books) and feel a sense of belonging. And I did, but not as much as I craved. The feeling wasn’t strong enough to keep me there, Andrew was missing me so I went back to Ireland. Stayed for another year. It wasn’t a good time, it wasn’t home, but we tried. We tried our absolute best, while daydreaming of creating something new, together. In Canada.

Cut to the present time. We’ve been here for almost two years now. We spent the first couple of months in an AirBnB, and then moved to a basement apartment a couple of blocks away. And while the apartment is not truly ours, whatever that means, it feels like home. The furniture is not ours, so everything is not handpicked by us. But we try to make it as much ours as possible.

One day I’ll have a place that’s completely mine. A small little place, close to nature but not too far away from the roads either. I’ll enjoy that then. Right now, I’m enjoying this. The more you romanticize your own life, the more magic you create. The more you realize you can find joy in the most average of places and things, the happier you get. I think I believe that now.

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