O Home, where art thou?

I started this post last week at my in-laws house in the UK. Jet lag meant I was up at 5:30 in the morning. The H went for a walk, the in-laws were still asleep so I went downstairs with my cup of tea to write and to enjoy the peace and not so quiet. The clock tick was really loud and hollow sounding, the fridge hum was audible even though the kitchen door was closed.
All this and the batshit crazy starlings fighting over the fatballs in the garden.
The day before had been a beautiful. It had been hot and the sky an amazing blue, without any clouds. When it’s like that I always think “That’s such an English sky” and then I think “What makes it an English sky?” It’s the same sky over the rest of the world, does being over England really make it different? But, if I see the same colour sky elsewhere in the world I do think “Oh wow! That’s just like home”.

In honour of our arrival on the Sunday, the Ma-in-law made a spectacular roast beef. It was a full house. Dinner was in two sittings while my scrumptious nephew finished his nap. Outrageous amounts of food were eaten, there were beef and red wine sweats and then a lazy afternoon flopped on the sofa.
Sprawled out in the living room with the familia, in a post prandial stupor, on a glorious Sunday afternoon was blissful. I said to the H “This is perfect. I’m going to have to come back to the UK for a while, even if it’s only for a couple of years. I miss home”.
And that is the bottom line; I miss home. I am a homebody. I love being at home. When I travel, I enjoy the trip but at the end of the holiday I always look forward to coming home. Even previously, when I’ve been in the UK on holiday, I’ve looked forward to going ‘home’; to the country I’m living in at the time.

Our recent visit to HK was fantastic, but it was an anxiety-laced trip. I don’t know what triggered it…I’ve come to realise it’s best not to dwell on what’s causing the anxiety because half the time I don’t why. I just have to try and keep pushing forward or I could come to a screeching, panic induced stop. Permeating the fun experiences in HK were my obsessive thoughts, adrenaline rushes and all the rest of the good stuff that goes with my anxiety disorder.
Getting home was a long old journey but when I got off the plane at Pune, the anxiety just melted away. I’m not talking about “Oh I feel a little better now the travelling is over” No. It disappeared. All of a sudden the crappy feelings that had been following me around for the last few days were gone. Bizarro! I’m not complaining, it was a relief. The only thing I can think of is that I was home. Arriving in Pune I did think, “Lovely, I’m home. I’m alright. I’m going to have a cup of tea and go to bed”.
The power of home my friends.

I’m trying to understand what this means.

I’m going to Mexico in November for a couple of weeks. This will be the first time I’ve been back since I left, nearly 2 years ago. I’m so excited about the trip. Already it’s obvious that there won’t be enough time to see everyone, to do all the things I want to do and to eat my weight in tacos (although I will give it my very best effort). I forsee much weeping at seeing old friends again and because of the emotions of being in a country that really felt like home to me for the time I lived there. It was such a wrench to leave, I firmly believe I was grieving when I arrived in India.
But it will be different. This is just a holiday. Mexico is no longer my home. I’ve been asked if Mexico has been my favourite country so far. The answer is a most resounding yes.
I’ve also been asked if I would go back and live in Mexico again. The answer…Honestly, I think it would be no. Living in Mexico again wouldn’t be like before obviously and I wouldn’t want to tarnish my memories. I wouldn’t want to think that it was any less perfect than the way I remembered it.

Does this mean it would be the same if I moved back to the UK? Have I created a romanticised ideal of what it would be like to live in the UK again? All Sunday lunches, sunny days with family and friends?
Also, what does it mean that I can change my allegiance and my sense of home seemingly at ease? Mexico one minute, Pune the next, yet hankering after the UK…What does home mean to me? How do I define home? What is home?  Who knows…I don’t know!

I appear to be having a home identity crisis.

The purpose of this trip was to attend my friend’s wedding. The wedding which I had offered to write and read an original poem. It was an emotionally loaded trip. The whole wedding event was really emotional. When I saw my friend, who I haven’t seen in years, I squealed and burst into tears…and started shaking (Gin and Tonic stat!).
On the morning of the wedding we all had breakfast together and there was a bit of banter about the readings and speeches and my palms started sweating…profusely. Then in the afternoon, when we were waiting for the ceremony to start I thought I was going to cry. I had to fight to hold it together. My hands were shaking and I thought if I let myself start crying I won’t be able to stop.
In hindsight, I don’t think it was nerves about the reading, because that went fine. The poem was a success. I didn’t mumble, my voice was loud and the rhythm of the piece flowed.
I think it was the emotion of being in the UK, having spent time with my family, seeing friends that I used to see all the time and that I hadn’t seen for years. I cried during the ceremony, I cried during the speeches, I cried when I had to say goodbye…there was a lot of weeping.

Thankfully I feel quite peaceful at the moment. All that emotion can be quite draining. I’m happy to be back in Pune. My trips to the UK always leave me feeling like I need a holiday, this one even more so.

I’ve eased back into my routine without any problem apart from the jet lag induced, narcoleptic sleep patterns but that will soon sort itself out. I have several months to prepare for the next emotional onslaught that will be the Mexico trip but for the time being, I’m happy to be home.

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