I've just been home to New Zealand and whilst I was at home, I talked of going home to London. When I lived in Auckland, Auckland was home. Korea too - home. Home in Dunedin, Valpy Street, St Clair. But what about all the other places I lived in Dunedin, weren't they once home too?
Its got me thinking about home. What is home? Is home a place? Or is home people? Is home work? Is home where we socialise? Is home where we laugh, cry or relax? Is home a happy place?
What makes a home?
As I began this post, I was yet to define my sense of home but through writing I have discovered that to me, home is the place I feel settled and happy. They go together because I don't believe that one can truly be settled without being happy. I do settle easy. No ... I don't think I'm necessarily pleased easily, but given the basics and a bit more, life is easily good for me.
I'm settled in London because I truly love my job. I love the people I work with, the environment I'm in and I love the children I teach. I love the area I live in. I love that so many of my friends from home live in this new place I call home and I love that I have met so many other amazing people who have become close friends here in this home. I love that I can walk out my door and feel safe (except when the light unexpectedly flicks off as I walk down the stairwell). I love that I know how to get to my friends places and also where to go to enjoy a good vino or cocktail as much as I love flying into London and feeling comfortable because I know how to get home. Another new thing I love is knowing which channel the news is on (24/7). I love knowing where the post office is and where the best deal is to get my hair done. Some of these are small things, but its probably the smallest things that actually make us feel like home is actually a home.
And what makes Dunedin home? Ahhhh... its just home.
Its landing in Auckland and the man at customs saying 'Welcome home' with a sincere smile plastered across his face. Its returning 10months later, and that same man being on the customs desk. Its collecting my bags and the sniffer dog being attached to a good friend from school who is now working there. Its the girl who let me have a shower for free at the airport simply because my debit cards weren't working when I landed. Its walking out the door and arriving at my sisters flat 2 minutes later. Its being able to walk to the beach, see the waves and walk along the sand. Its lying on the couch at my house in St Clair and feeling completely at home even though I don't live there anymore. Its knowing that the bus to town goes at exactly the same time it did a year ago and also knowing that I can't leave the house without a cardy even in summer but feeling completely okay about that. Its being able to drive 15 minutes to see my closest friends, and thats across the city. Its seeing my old high school and now being able to appreciate the grand building. Its the feelings and the memories, that stir every minute I spend in that place.
These are the things that to me, make home, home.
Home is any number of places where I feel settled and happy.
The things that make me feel settled may change, but its the result of happiness from these factors that to me, creates home.