I’m not the biggest Talking Heads fan, but that lyric has always resonated with me when I think about the idea of ‘home’, and I thought it would be a fitting song to share with this post (also, truth be told, the song’s been stuck in my head for days and I hope that by sharing it I can finally be free of its catchy new wave chorus). I always feel conflicted about the sense of being home, because my idea of ‘home’ is constantly in motion. Whenever I’m at school in Vancouver, for example, I feel homesick for where I grew up, but the second I’m back for summer break, I’m equally homesick for the life I’ve made in British Columbia–rinse and repeat every time I return in September or leave after winter term.
I’m not sure why I feel this way; it isn’t as if I’ve moved around a lot. I lived in a handful of houses before coming to Vancouver for university, and have come home to four individual residences in three separate countries in the years since I started at UBC. Some of these places have been wonderful to live in, and some have been less than homey in the traditional sense, but I’ve found my place in each of them, and there’s always a sense of loss when I lock my door for the last time. Compared to some people I know, I’m nomadic, but since most of my close friends move house nearly yearly, I’ve always thought of myself as someone who stays still for an adequate amount of time. I suppose my sense of home is less static or concrete than someone who has lived in the same house all of their life, but I don’t think the change of locale factors heavily in my difficulty with pinning down what home means to me.
I think for me, home is less of a physical space than it is a collection of fragments and memories that assemble themselves into a cohesive whole. You can’t carry a place with you, and as much as I wanted to slip my childhood home into my pocket and take it away when we moved, it still stands in the woods where I left it, and I can return to it in memory alone. It is with this in mind that I, subconsciously or otherwise, have constructed a sense of home out of those less tangible things. Home is the smell of my sister’s vanilla perfume, my father blasting NPR as he gets ready for work in the morning. Home is turning past Reykjavíksgatan after a night out with friends and knowing that my bed is only a five-minute walk away. Home is riding the 41 down Marine Drive, hearing the sound of the rain at the window, looking out at the section of Pacific Spirit Park where the highway has no lights and you can feel alone, for once, in the city. Home is listening to music from my childhood. Home is the rare Denver snow day, baking bread with my mother and marathoning Harry Potter movies. Home is driving to the cemetery on important dates and carefully cleaning off graves. Home is potluck dinners with my roommates, curling on the couch to watch classic movies, leaving notes for one another to find throughout the day. Home is driving down Colfax Avenue and seeing my city loom across the horizon, always softer than I remember it. Home is realizing what you miss once you’ve left it, and equally still it is knowing that in some way, you can always come back.
Talking Heads. This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody). 1983. YouTube. Web. 04 June 2015.
Fabianll. Flogsta SCREAM, the real stuff. 2008. YouTube. Web. 04 June 2015.
Mitchell, Joni. A Case of You. 1971. YouTube. Web. 04 June 2015.
“Denver, Colorado.” Map. Google Maps. Google, October 2014. Web. 04 June 2015.