Assignment 2.2

Write a short story (600 – 1000 words max) that describes your sense of home and the values and stories that you use to connect yourself to your home and respond to all comments on your blog. 


I am a child of divorce. The statement sounds harsh and sad, but in reality it has given me a lot. Don’t get me wrong, it would have been nice as a young child to not have to go back and forth between my parents. I never was able to go far in any given hobby because I could only participate every other week (my parents lived about an hour apart). I spent a lot of time packing and unpacking. However, the constant moving around has given me a few skills that have helped me out in life and one that I am very grateful for; my ability to be comfortable anywhere. I don’t need personal pictures or specific people to feel at home.


My parents divorced before I was two and were both in serious relationships by the time I was 5. That meant not only was I going in-between my mom and my dad’s house, but I was also spending nights at their partners houses, my grandparents or my now step grandparents homes. On top of that my father had a condo where we went some weekends to ski in the winter and a cottage in the summer. While I did have a “home base” at my mother’s house, I lived a majority of my life out a suitcase. Don’t get me wrong, I know I was fortunate to have so much family and the ability to escape to the cottage or the condo for a weekend. But the result was, as a child I spent very few consecutive nights anywhere. For a while when I was in elementary school I felt like I didn’t have a home. I knew I had shelter, food, clothing and a bed but I never felt like I had a home, like one I could picture as my “home sweet home” that I craved after a long day. At that young age I didn’t even really know what that entailed, I just knew I didn’t feel it. It was never something that brought overwhelming sadness or anxiety, rather it was more of a curious observation. What I did know was, no matter which parent, house or location I was in, every day I needed some all me alone time to be with just myself.

In high school, as I became more social and began having sleep overs at friends’ houses, I spent even fewer nights in the same place. Oddly enough, this is when I started to figure out what a “home sweet home” meant to me. I remember distinctly when I realized, my father and I were having a conversation over tea one night before bed (a ritual of ours). He asked me if I felt like a bit of a nomad, with no real home. When I thought about it I said “no”. I actually just felt like I had a lot of homes. I have the ability to get comfortable and determine a home base almost instantly. All I need for a place to feel like home is my own space. It does not need to be big. One time my home base was a bunk bed with a curtain you could pull across for privacy in a hostel. It was the farthest thing from fancy, but it brought me the same comfort that my true home base gave me. If I spend more than one night in a location I very quickly not only call it my home, but really let it feel that way.

I must admit, I feel a little strange not saying home is where my family is or where my friends are. It is not like I don’t love my family, we are actually quite close and speak every day. I have amazing friends. I just do not need specific people by my side to feel like home. The ability to make anywhere home has afforded me great opportunities. I went to school in Europe for my grade 12, not seeing my family for 8 months and not knowing a soul at the school I attended. I adjusted easily and unlike my colleagues who spent the first month adjusting, the only time I was homesick was Christmas morning (I didn’t go back home to Ontario). I went to UBC despite having grown up in Ontario, having no family in BC and once again not knowing a soul at UBC. I was the youngest at overnight camp 3 years in a row and I never needed to call my parents. I don’t really get home sick. Because ‘home’ to me is really just a state of mind. As a result of that I can dive into opportunities head first and not be distracted. So while being a child of divorce would not have been my first choice (I’m sure others in my shoes can agree), it is also not the worst thing. I think it forced me to be independent and comfortable no matter where I am. I feel at home where I can be comfortable and have my own quiet time.




  1. You put this very eloquently and I found I could relate to almost every word. I am also a child of divorce and faced the same timeline of growing up in multiple houses – including my dad’s international job that could take him anywhere.
    I do have a home base in the home I had with my mom, but I do find that no matter where I am when I say “wanna go home?” it could refer to anything from an actual house, to a hostel to a friends I’m spending the night at. And I’ve definitely confused people when I call a hotel or temporary place my home.
    However, I find that this is a different type of home. I personally like to think that I have an ultimate home (for lack of a better term) where I can set my roots, even if those roots are temporary. I take the time and put in a lot of effort to ensure I feel that I can justify a stable claim to a home.
    For the home that trumps all the others I have souvenirs of memories everywhere and the bookshelves where my books originate from. In temporary homes I found that connection through rearranging furniture in my dorm rooms in Vancouver, or setting up my toiletries or other small things in hostels around Europe, or hanging up stuff if at all possible in Singapore and Switzerland, and for me I always have books – so their placement claims the space as my own in any space I stay in.

    Did you find this sense of attempting to personalize a space or connecting to it in your experience moving between homes, even if it was in a small way?
    And what do you think of my attempt at trying to define different levels of a sense of home?

    1. Hi,

      Thank you for your response! It is funny you mention attempting to personalize a space. No matter where I went, even if I only stayed for one night, I unpacked a little bit. For me that usually meant unpacking a suitcase. No matter where I am, if I have things in drawers, as opposed to in a suitcase, I am not only more comfortable, but more at ease. I also found that carrying a photo or two made a huge difference.

      Another point of yours I really connected to was saying “I’m going home”. My friends always tease me because when I say that, they still have no idea where I am going. Am I going to my moms? My dads? Vancouver? Toronto? The cottage? I think we don’t understand how odd this is to some people because it is all we have ever known.

  2. Hi Alanna,

    I liked the strong opening of your story! You really pulled me into your narrative and your positive outlook on finding independence through your circumstances.

    I also moved around a lot while growing up, but I never thought about it in quite the same way you do. Home as a state of mind is something that I would imagine you could take with you anywhere. Given that idea, have you moved a lot since coming to UBC? And do you find the place of UBC itself to be home to you, or the individual places to live in themselves to be home?

    Thanks for the great read,


    1. Hi Ashley,

      Thank you for your response. During my time at UBC I lived in the same place for two consecutive years. However, I lived with the same girl for the whole time. For me, home was with her. We always lived in the same 1 block radius, but the comfort of a solid relationship was home. For me it wasn’t a specific 4 walled apartment that felt like “home base” when I entered it, but the one block did begin to bring a home like feel to it. To add to what I note about personal space, she was the exact same. Every day when we arrived home from class, we both took our time alone in our separate rooms to recharge after the day. Having this common need met is probably one of the main reasons we were able to live together for so long. Each of our living arrangements were VERY different, so there isn’t really something I can point to and say that made my space feel like home. Except her.

      It is interesting you asked the UBC question because when asked about where home is, my mind automatically went back to Ontario. That being said I do refer to UBC as home when I am in Ontario. I would say UBC (the campus and the people) was one of my homes but not “the” home.

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