We were on a house hunting mission in Michigan. Kind of tired, we were ready to take a break from driving through various subdivisions, talking to all the builders. As I mentioned before, temporarily we rent a “stinky apartment” here in Michigan and the family comes here as often as they can until the final moving day later this summer.
So we decided, that we have done enough search for the day and Andrea happened to tell the girls: “Now we go home”. (she meant to the “stinky apartment”). Then Emma immediately corrected her: “It is not home, it is apartment…”
It was amazing to see how a three years old can distinguish between a temporary place and a permanent place. By the way is this really the big difference that makes you call a certain location “Home”? Or even “Home Sweet Home”?
Is it as simple as staying somewhere temporarily vs. permanently? And if this makes a difference, what is the threshold until a stay is considered temporary and beyond it is considered permanent? If it is X number of days, than what about X number of days + 1 minute? And…
I never thought deeply about the definition nor ever set up a list of parameters that are necessary to call a place “Home”. Not until now.
So here is what is necessary for me to call a place home:
1. Feel comfortable
I know that any nice vacation place can help you achieve that, but remember, this is just one criteria. Feel comfortable for me means, that you have a favorite chair, that you what to expect from. You know if you sit down, how you are going to tilt to the left or to the right, where you are going to put your feet. Because it has always been like that. If you want to drink a glass of milk, you know exactly where to find your favorite mug you always use. And if that mug happens to be in the dishwasher, you know which mug is the next in line you are going to use, etc. In other words, you know where things are.
2. Allow me to relax
Isn’t this one of the most important things we want to accomplish by going Home? We want to be able to “recharge our batteries”. We want to be able to turn our minds off (“nothing box” for men) for a while or just find an environment where we can think about anything we want to think about. I know what you are thinking right now: this could still be a nice vacation place somewhere. Again, this is still only one criteria.
3. Feel like I belong here
I am not sure about you, but whichever nice places we have ever visited, we always felt good going home. It is great to go various places, experience different cultures, sceneries, meet all kinds of different people, but at the end (after a long weekend, one week, two weeks, a month) you are always ready to back there. Wherever is “there”, for You I think that is the place you call Home.
I am sorry if You are disappointed now that I could not offer a more scientific definition, but I think it has a great amount of emotion involved.
Now as we are getting ready to pack up again everything and getting ready to move again the whole gang, this time to Michigan, I think back how many times for us Home has changed.
When we first moved from Hungary to the US, we spent the first three months at a temporary rental place. Funny, but in the office, when I said, “I go home now”, I meant that I go to this temporary rental place. But when I talked to my wife and asked each other “Have you called home?” We always meant asking if the other one called anybody back in Hungary. Then we moved to a small house we rented for a few years, which eventually became our “Home” for those few years, until we purchased our first house, which is currently considered our “Home”. Then now we have the “stinky apartment”, which will never be called “Home” and we have our new house selected here in Michigan, that we are calling already the “New Home”.
I think this time, once we will move into our “New Home”, we will be ready to set up camp for a longer period of time…
P.S.: If you have a better definition of what is called “Home”, please let me know.