For some reason, perhaps it is the rainy days of late, thoughts of home have been pervading my mind. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t homesickness, but rather the sadness that Berlin is now my permanent home. While my parents were still alive, Manila was my home base, a safe haven to return to and recharge. But I have no house or parents to return to anymore, and no pressing reason to fly back either. Ah, the travails of being an only child.
What is home?
Where is home?
Two very good questions that keep me awake at night, as well as anyone else, like me, who has spent their lives relocating from one country to another. I am definitely not the person who grew up (and old) in a single city, surrounded by her past, clearly knowing where the future will be, defined by the properties and career that are anchored to that place. Nope, I am a universal tumbleweed who has rolled around the globe without setting down roots, knowing that wherever it is that my was desk parked for the time being, THAT was home.
My desk is in Berlin, with nowhere else to go for now. Is the location of your possessions that really what home is all about? Allow me to amend the statement slightly and add that home, to me, is wherever my cat(s) and I are. Initially it was just a question of Champagne and myself packing up our bags and moving on. Now there are three cats who form my family, share my time, space, and love. So yes, Berlin is our home, even though I am sure one cat would love to evict the other two from time to time!
If the roots are impermanent, can you still call it home? In my case, I have had to do so, and learned that home is that special place where you can lock the door, draw the curtains, and shut out the world. It sounds more like a coping mechanism, doesn’t it? But isn’t that what home is all about? To help us cope with the outside world? This is one of the reasons death and divorce have hit me hard, giving way to yet another d – displacement.
A house is not a home, that much is clear. No matter how pretty the garden or how perfect the placement of your worldly belongings, the house only becomes a home when you can be alone and peace with your soul, to look around and know that everything is there for a reason, and you know how and why it got there, can be as happy, sad, grumpy, bitchy, and angry as much as you want, because this is where you rest, recover, heal, and find courage.