Day 15 & 16 of 27
Today the phrase “your home is where your heart is” is my topic of self conversation.
As I get closer and closer to the end of this experiment of daily postings about my observations, thoughts, emotions, opinions, and ideas; this phrase came up and it’s the only thing that seemed important for me to talk about.
I’m the daughter of an expat American woman who grew up in a small town in western Massachusetts; but spent most of her adult life (45 years to be exact) in Athens, Greece; and a Greek man born in Athens, who despite all his protests has moved between Greece and the United states twice. I’m the amalgam of one true roamer and one homebody (nope it’s not my mum). I have moved house 20 times since I was born, and have moved and lived in Athens, Western Massachusetts, London, upstate New York, New York City, London, Athens, Mykonos and again New York. (if you’re not dizzy; I am!)
What comes to mind is a phrase in Greek which loosely translates to “the land you live in now, is your homeland). “Όπου γης και πατρίς” which is originally attributed to the politician and orator Cicero. This encapsulates the whole way in which I’ve navigated my travels and my many “homes”.
Πατρίδα-in Greek means homeland (fatherland to be more precise); the place where you were born; which is very different from Χώρα-Chora or country (also referring to the village/the countryside) which can be seen as a place of residence or nationality. In recent years I’ve seen myself as a nomad with no country, no homeland and no place to call home. I come from Greece, I was born there, I lived there most of my life, but as of now it is no longer my home. I no longer have a family home that I grew up in, I don’t have a bedroom with all my childhood memories. I carry that childhood, and those memories with me wherever I go. I’m somewhat of an exile, having chosen to leave my home in Greece, and come to New York “for a better life”; and not really wanting to. As most exiles I feel uprooted, and this idea of connection to where I now live is quite frail.
This fragility of course does not come without a better understanding of oneself in connection to identity and belonging. A house is just a roof over our heads, but a home is where we feel comforted, protected, familiar, and at peace. I’ll bring two more Greek words to the mix to show the complexity of meaning and feeling.
οικία (oikia)– means house or home
οικεία (oikeia) — means familiar or something you find comforting
For now my house is in New York City, but it does not feel like my home, so the heart keeps roaming, and if my life is any indication of a pattern, it will roam again.
So when you close the door to your home tonight make sure that you feel at home, comforted and safe.
So… Where do you feel most at home?