‘home is the nicest word there is.’ -laura ingalls wilder
Something that has been on my mind lately is the concept of ‘home.’ What comes to your mind when that cozy word is mentioned?
At age 6, I would have told you that home is, of course, my house. My first home, built in the 1700s, with bad insulation and too many rooms to keep clean, with antique furniture and my light pink play room. Where I was brought home from the hospital, celebrated my first birthday, met my little sister and brother for the first time, watched Winnie the Pooh, painted my nails with my mom, and swung on the swing set in the backyard my dad built for me.
At age 13, my answer would have changed a bit–not just due to the fact that we moved to a new house, but because my parents got a divorce. My house no longer felt like home because it had changed so much. My new home, my refuge, was at my best friend’s house, with its many candles, big windows, and my best friend.
After I left for college, the general term of “New England” became what I referred to as home. It was where most of my memories had been made up to this point in my life, where I had lived, learned and loved.
It was only after having traveled to and from college to my house multiple times, and after having studied abroad that I finally came to the conclusion that I hope everyone can realize at some point in their lives: home does not have to be a physical space, not does it imply permanence.
For example, when I was traveling around Europe and bouncing from hostels to AirBNBs to my dorm room, I saw every place I laid my head at night as my temporary home. Every plane and train that I spent hours traveling and waiting on, home. I was surrounded by the love and laughter of my friends, and a sense of adventure and curiosity.
People and feelings make homes. Candles, christmas lights and cuddly blankets help, but it is the memories made, love felt, and people around that truly make a home, a home.