Mar 19, 2014

home is where


I tried out every different cliche and song lyric that I could think of for this post. Home is where the heart is. Home is wherever I'm with you. While they're all good and true in their own right, they didn't quite fit.  I'm about to get really good and honest and superficial here today.

I missed my stuff.

Now, don't get me wrong, I actually did like living with less while we were on the boat.  It was sort of refreshing and surprisingly easier than I thought it would be.  But when we got back onto land and I slipped my feet back into my leather boots, when I unpacked my dishes and placed them on a shelf in a cabinet, when I unrolled my beloved cowhide rug onto the hardwood floor… it felt good.

I don't think it's easy finding a place that feels like home anymore.  Maybe that's just me.  Growing up, home was where my parents were there to care for me and where my always messy room was my sanctuary.  Of course it felt like home, it was also the only one I had ever known.  But when my parents decided to make the move from Maryland to Virginia, it was surprisingly easy to leave.  Of course, it was hard to leave friends and family behind, but the minute we moved out, it no longer felt like home.

Trying to make Virginia home took a little bit of time, as anyone who's ever moved will tell you.  All of our familiar stuff was there, and our family became closer than ever as we relied on each other more, so it did feel like home, in a way.  But we also had moved to The South, and immersed ourselves in the very conservative Bible-belt, and that has still never fit quite right.

After getting married and moving into a house in my husband's hometown in the mountains, I really struggled with feeling at home.  And I had only moved an hour away.  We tried our best to make a house into a home out of Riley's handiwork and generous gifts of hand-me down furniture, but that never quite fit either.    Maybe because it was a small, very Southern community where everyone knew each other, and was most likely related.  Maybe because I didn't want it to fit.  Maybe because I knew the house was only temporary. At the same time, going back to visit my parent's house didn't feel like home either.  But I did know, at least, that wherever Riley was was where I wanted my home to be.

So, if I couldn't find home in Maryland or Virginia, could I find it on a boat?  I guess in a way, I did.  We generally found ourselves in a new place every few days, so home couldn't really be a physical location.  But somehow I found a kind of home in the space of a 30 foot boat, with not much more than a few tupperware boxes of clothes and a toothbrush, my husband and my dog.  For a brief period of time, we made it feel like home.  But eventually, we got restless.  Moving around all the time can really wear a person down.  We were ready to have a real home, whatever that means.

After our trip, my parents were gracious enough to let us crash at their house for about a week.  Everyone asked us if we were glad to be home.  Honestly?  I felt more displaced than I had on a boat.  I had stuff in boxes in a guest room at my parent's and stuff in boxes in storage and I had just left the only place that had sort of felt like home for the last five months, I couldn't come up with an answer to that question until I actually did feel home again.

We were fortunate to find an apartment fairly quickly, and moving our stuff into it felt pretty darn good.  Does that mean home is where my stuff is?  Home is not in Maryland, and it's not at my parent's house in Virginia.  It's no longer a house in the mountains and it's not on a 30 foot boat.  But I am finally fulfilling a dream of living in a downtown apartment, so can I make this small space in the city feel like home for the next year?  I don't know yet, but I do know that I find a sense of peace in having a closet to hang my clothes in and a couch on which to watch tv.  My view of the city makes me happy, and so does my little brick wall and the creaky hardwood floor under my feet.  

Being here feels good. And it feels right.  For now.  Does it feel like home?  Ask me again in another few months.



25 comments:

  1. Look at that spiral staircase! Even if it never feels like "home" (because my apartments never did) this is a cool place to live for a while.

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  2. That apartment is amazing!

    I get what you mean. We just redecorated and it made me realize that my home never felt as homey and comfortable until it was filled with stuff that I picked out that made me happy. Yes it is just stuff and it's all replaceable, but there is something about things that are yours that is extremely comforting.

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  3. I know that feeling! My parents also moved to a smaller town when I was 18 and I never felt at home again. That new house was simply not the home I grew up in. However, that made it easy for me to leave and move abroad and after having been to several countries I only start to feel at home now that my boyfriend and I found an appartment for us two and we are busy decorating it.
    Feeling at home can be a weird thing! Hopefully you'll start feeling at home soon. Your new place looks lovely :)

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  4. I think home is a feeling for sure, it's not a place or things that make that feeling. I think it's more about finding what's comfortable all around from the place to the things or on a boat nothing. As long as Riley and Gidget are there anyplace can be home I imagine.

    Also it's not superficial to miss your stuff, stuff is what brings us comfort and joy.

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  5. That apartment looks amazing!! I LOVE the brick, floors, and that staircase is so dreamy! How fun!....I totally know what you mean about feeling at home. I moved to San Francisco 2 years ago and it is just starting to feel like home for me. Part of that was my roommate the 1st year and traveling to see my long distance boyfriend. But the past year my boyfriend now lives here with me, and we've made our house our own with our dog. My parents home still feels like "home home" as I call it. Especially during the holidays. I don't know what it is about living somewhere, if it's about having a family, owning the home, or how long you live there, that finally makes it feel like "home."

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  6. Ahhhh!!! I love it Allison! The brick, the floor, the staircase. Perfection. I've heard that those downtown apartments are amazing, and yours sure doesn't disappoint :-). Can't wait to see more!

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  7. Your apartment is TOOO cute. The brick - love it.

    Home is hard. But it sounds like you have been surrounded by great people (and pets!) at every stage, and people are even harder than home. So you're doing good. And someday the home part is just going click.

    -Amy

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    1. Thanks! I am pretty excited to get to live in it for a little while!
      You are completely right about that. I have been so fortunate to have been surrounded by so many loving people, and that's all that really matters when it comes down to it anyway. :)

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  8. I love the brick wall!! I'm glad you guys are settling in well! I've lived in four different homes the past three years and they've each felt like home but for different reasons. While I'm living in Peter's sister's house right now, they've been so welcoming and part of it does feel like home to me!

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  9. I know what you mean. This is a very good and well-written post girly!

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  10. Beautiful apartment! Love the floor, stairs and brick wall. But I totally know what you mean. I don't think I'll feel at home until we have a place to call our own in a city that makes us happy. Where and when that will be, who knows.

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  11. Great post! I hope that your new apartment feels like home--or close to it, at least. It's beautiful! I love the brick walls and the staircase. I hope you guys are settling in well. And that Gidget is too!

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  12. It looks like a cool place, and Gidget seems to be feeling at home already. Hope you will do so too soon!

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    1. Oh yeah, she is! Except for a little adjustment to apartment living, and all the noises that entails, she made herself right at home right away!

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  13. I hope you get settled and feel "homey" soon! um, and I am dying over the gorgeousness of all the exposed brick and that staircase...

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    1. Thank you! I'm still dying over them myself! :)

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  14. Looks like Gidget is enjoying the new place! So good to see you are starting to get settled!

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  15. After my first year of college I struggled to identify what 'home' meant to me. After reading this post, I was reminded of something I wrote in response to a friend back in '06... it was in my paper journal so I'm rewriting it here because I think it fits with what you're saying.

    "I know my way around most of New Jersey fairly well, and I do feel somewhat at home there; more so than here in Pittsburgh, probably more so than I ever will. But I didn't grow up in Bridgewater, I didn't grow up in Florham Park, or Long Island... they're all places I've lived, places I've called home, but they'll never be a complete idea of home for me. I'd like to think that I could go back to France and feel that I belong there... but I know that's a stretch as well. In reality, I've come to terms with the fact that I will never feel at home in a town, or a city, or a state. It's the little things; a lover's bed, a worn-in couch, a coffeehouse... that's home for me. That's where I'd like to be."

    I think that as long as you have Riley and Gidget, you'll feel at home. Home can not be captured in a physical sense, you just have to feel it with your whole being - wherever you feel the most love, that's where home is. Then you can always carry it with you, no matter where you are :)

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    1. I think you said it beautifully! I think the feeling can be found in the little things, in loved ones, and in really getting involved and exploring a place. Thank you so much for sharing! :)

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  16. I am struggling with the same feelings as we are living in a new town (well, since Oct.)...I wonder if it will ever feel right, or if you have to keep searching for that "right" feeling until you land in the exact "right" place. Either way, your apartment is soooooo awesome from what I can see in those pictures! I love the feel of the brick and wood and THAT staircase!

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  17. That spiral staircase is amazing! I've moved a lot in my life so pretty much home is wherever I am. My fiance wants to buy a house and settle down but my nomad tendencies cringe at the idea. Right now, I'm in VA and I've lived here for 4yrs and won't be moving for another 3yrs or so. So this is definitely going to be one of the longest places I've lived in.

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    1. Good for you for being able to make home wherever you are! I think that's a really great skill to have. I have a hard time picturing exactly where we'll be in the long term, and it sounds like I haven't moved nearly as much as you have, so I'm sure it's scary to think about making that kind of commitment! Good luck in whatever you decide! :)

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  18. Thanks for being so honest...blogland needs more posts like that!

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  19. It's good to be honest! Not only to yourself, but others! I know exactly how you feel with making a "new" place feel like home. I've felt that way ever since I moved out of my parents house and in with my now husband (fiance at the time). I've been here for two years. But it still doesn't feel like home. When people ask me where I'm from I say "I'm not from Port Hope but I currently live in Port Hope". I don't ever want to forget where my home is. Even though I'm still trying to make our house together a "home". Someday....

    I'm happy for you to have a place to call your home and to place all your items! The couple pictures look like it's a beautiful place! Best of luck settling in! :)

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