Monday, April 30, 2012

The Meaning of Home

With the move back to San Francisco on the horizon, this bit from an article on the meaning of home by Verlyn Klinkenborg struck a chord:
Not that you can’t feel “at home” in other places. But there’s a big psychological difference between feeling at home and being home. Feeling at home on the Tiwi Islands or in Bangalore or Vancouver (if you are not native) is simply a way of saying that the not-home-ness of those places has diminished since you first arrived. Some people, as they move through their lives, rediscover home again and again. Some people never find another after once leaving home. And, of course, some people never leave the one home they’ve always known. In America, we don’t know quite what to say about those people.
I've written about this before, but I recall the first time we went back to San Francisco after moving to Sydney and being terrified that it was no longer going to feel like (or be) home. This was because of the first time I went back to Kentucky and Tennessee after living in Washington for two years (and only briefly for a couple of months in California) it seemed so incredibly alien to me. It made me realize that that region was never home and it was never going to be. I was afraid that my living here was going to produce a similar response when I visited all of our usual hangouts back there and that it was going to feel completely foreign. But that is not what happened at all. From the moment we stepped off of the plane, it felt like a really nice pair of jeans. Our arrival experience was made complete by getting into a huge argument with the taxi driver on the way to the hotel, because he had taken the wrong route. Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of riding in a taxi with me and David will certainly appreciate why this was the icing on the cake for us - we knew we were home.

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