One of my best friends and I were talking about what defines a “home” as we were driving around our favourite parts of New Jersey (Hoboken / Jersey City), partially for sentimentality, partially for convenience.
She asked me, “So do you consider London your home now?”
I replied, “Kind of – in a way. I consider it home because I built my life there on my own. But I have only been there for 6 months. I don’t really know. It depends on whether you think home is a place or about the people you form relationships with.”
When I think about calling a place home because I built it, in retrospect, it feels like a lonely and selfish statement. Sometimes I think this whole London endeavor was quite selfish.
When I came home, it didn’t feel like home aside from the people – my mom and sister, my friends, etc. But the feeling wasn’t home anymore. New Jersey felt like a trap and New York felt too big for me to manage. When I was in New York during my short visit, I saw glimpses of the life I loved and I do want to go back to one day.
I always saw New York as my “penultimate home” – the home I would want before I chose that other place as my final home to raise my family. Walking through the familiar streets and visiting my favourite restaurants and bookstores was difficult. I knew I wasn’t ready to take back my city because I was still so haunted by memories of firsts. It was hard because it was as if fate steered me to all those familiar spots I so wished to avoid. It was hard and I don’t know if closure will ever be possible.
It is going to take more time, I know.
I now know what home is supposed to be, but I was too scared and not ready to ask for it at the time.
Home is about balance, like everything else in life. London is something I built for myself and maybe that is why I consider it home for now. However, once my MA programme is over, all the people I became friends with and let into my life will most likely be gone aside from the once every couple of year trips or Facebook. London won’t feel like home to me anymore.
I am in a very unsettling and destabilising time in my life. I am still trying to figure out what home is for me personally and professionally at this point in my life. I hope I find it soon because I am really feeling lost right now.