24 November 2011

Are People the Real Home?

What is it about a place that makes it more like a home to you?  Where do you call home, if anywhere, and why?

There is no stereotype of a home, just as there are no stereotypical emotional responses.  Each of us has a unique origin and life experiences, even when born of the same mother on the same day.  Our awareness of, and interest in, past connections differs.  Our hopes and expectations for the future differ.

Having lived in Australia for over twenty years now, I am just starting to feel at home here.  I do not understand why the BBC still reports that Australia is a British nation.  It has never been British, and it never will be.  A few thousand people from Britain have been transplanted here over the past couple of hundred years or so, intermingling with the original inhabitants, the wider environment, the wider world, and a few thousand refugees and other migrants from many lands.

BBC - Why are so many Britons leaving Australia?

Having spent several of my teenage years at school in the Highlands of Scotland, I know that I will probably never feel at home in Scotland.  I never had a sense of belonging there.  Nor would I ever feel at home in London, though I did live there for several years in my early adult days.

I never felt at home in North Wales, though I had several weeks of holiday there each summer during childhood, and I am still drawn to certain places there for reasons of nostalgia.  Until recently, I felt that the countryside and cultural heritage of central England gave me a sense of home, and especially of belonging, but now that has disappeared.  Maybe it is because the last of my grandparents died there last year.

Perhaps you find that a desire to be with certain people draws you back to a place.  Perhaps it is a sense of obligation rather than a feeling of desire, especially with an older relative who is growing more dependent on others.  Sometimes it is an economic necessity rather than any coherent longing for a sense of home.

How, then, do we create a feeling of home and belonging wherever we happen to be?