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Monday, 21 July 2014

HOME IS WHERE YOUR STUFF IS!

A few weeks ago I read an article on the blog “An Empowered Spirit” in which Cathy Chester writes about her feelings on leaving the home she has lived in for the past twenty-one years.  Although she is looking forward to a new phase in life, she was reminiscent and rueful about leaving a place that she loved and had provided her family with so many wonderful memories.

Combine this with a trip back to the United Kingdom, from whence I emigrated many years ago, and I started thinking about my own concept of home.  I have to say, I can only imagine what it feels like to live somewhere - not just a house, but a place - for twenty-one years.  My father was in service in the U.K. and my husband has a job that requires us to be mobile.  I’ve moved a few times, to say the least!

“So how many times have you moved?”



In my life I have moved twenty-two times and have had twenty different addresses.  In my fifty-two years, this is a move, on average, every 2.36 years!  Between the ages of seven and ten alone, I moved with my family six times.  The longest I’ve stayed at any one address is seven years.  The longest I’ve stayed in any one area – Southern Alberta – is nineteen years, but even there I still managed to move seven times.

I also know that I have at least one more move to go, perhaps even a couple, depending on the Hubby’s career.  I think once he is retired, I would like to put down roots for a while – if I can!

Transatlantic and Transcontinental: Moves of Epic Proportions

The most significant move I made was when my family emigrated from the U.K. to Canada.  Calgary was our ultimate destination, a distance of 4300 miles from Yeovil, Somerset where we lived.  Our possessions were stripped down to only the most personal for shipping.  But that was nothing compared to the culture shock of arriving in the ‘wild west’ (Calgary in 1981!) from semi-rural England.  I returned to England by myself two years later, re-emigrating two years after that, thus completing this Transatlantic odyssey three times!  I think that’s the definition of insanity!

Second in significance was the move from the West Coast of Canada to the East, for our most recent move, that has brought me to where I live now.  This involved a two-week, 3950-mile road trip across the second largest country in the world.  And it has brought with it its own brand of culture shock.
 
My current home


So then, where is home?

Despite, or more likely because of, my nomadic lifestyle, I have several concepts and definitions of home.  For my family, Home with a capital ‘H’ refers to the U.K.  This will always be the case, even though I will likely never live there again.  I have lived longer in Canada now, am used to their way of doing and have to confess to finding even the simplest of changes to life in England beyond my comfort zone.

As part of our long-term life plan, Hubby and I would like to return to Canada’s West Coast – Vancouver Island – where we most recently came from.  We loved living there and hope to retire there.  It is where my parents live and would put me in at least the same time zone as the rest of my immediate family!

But most importantly, bottom line and day-to-day, home is where my stuff is.  Not because of the stuff itself, but because it is familiar and provides solace.  My bed, my bathroom, my food and my routines.  I share it with my loved one and welcome family and friends.

As a child, there were extended family gatherings of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.  But life, took us all in different directions, a fact that makes me sad at times.  However, I am fortunate that for most of my life, wherever I have lived, my immediate family at least, has been close by.  We got used to celebrating our milestones and holidays as a tight-knit unit of four (then six, now seven), and have created some fantastic memories.


At present the unit is down to just two, Hubby and I.  But we still celebrate and make memories, we still live a life.  Because I’ve learned that home isn’t where my heart is.  Home is where my stuff is… but also, that my home is in my heart.


6 comments:

  1. I thought I moved a lot, but seriously, girl, you must be expert! And Vancouver is so beautiful...hope you get to go soon!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Carol!
      Expert? Maybe I should write a book! Not sure that I would want to relive this craziness though!

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  2. I so relate to where you're coming from Donna... I have moved over 25 times in my life. I counted them before our recent move to southern Colorado, our last move (I hope!). I lived 9 years in our last home, a lifetime record for me! But we have chosen to take the risk and move to a rural area to build a passive solar home, and have the time to just stare at the incredible views down here... Home at last!

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    Replies
    1. Wow Laiura, you have me beat! I love the idea of a passive solar home, though I don't think I will ever get that.
      I'm just hoping that when we do get to settle down it will be for many years. 'Home' at last, indeed!

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  3. Moving, wow..it sounds like you have criss crossed, and traveled more then most of us will ever dream of doing. You sound like my friend, all over the world, and she moved 32 times in 36 years.

    So nice to meet a "fellow" Canadian, I'm claiming you as Canadian even if you are not, because anyone who has lived on the West Coast, is forever. I'm a West Coast girl now transplanted to the Okanagan.

    Jen

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jen,
      Thanks for checking out the post and commenting.
      I am a fellow Canadian and definitely a 'forever West Coast Girl'! The Maritimes is a temporary, if lovely, blip. I have to say that the Okanagan is also a beautiful part of the country!

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