Home is where the heart is – or is it?

This was not what I was planning to write about today,
but as I was driving the kids to school this morning, I heard on the radio yet
another round of bad news on Greece.

My heart sank.

I felt deeply sad about what is happening to the
country where I grew up. The intensity of my reaction got me thinking about why moving
internationally can be so hard on some of us and less so on others. I think that
part of the answer may lie in the emotional bonds that we build with certain places
and how that influences – consciously or subconsciously – our mindset when we
move to a new one.

I have not lived in Greece for the past 17 years.
I still love going back there and do so with every chance I get. I love the feeling
of being with family, the sense of belonging, the (almost) permanent sunshine;
the proximity to the sea. I feel more “myself” there than anywhere else. Even if I am not
sure I would be able to live in Greece permanently after having been away for
so long, almost daily I find myself missing different aspects of life there. Still.
I am wondering if that was part of the reason why it took me so long to adjust
to life in Austria and whether the transition would have been smoother had managed
to get myself to let go. Or maybe this is a classic case of over-romanticizing
the life I don’t have to live.

Now that I am about to make my next move, would it
help to concentrate on the things I miss about Greece that I can actually find
in Switzerland, rather than on the ones that I cannot? What if, rather than dwelling
on no-win subjects such as the climate or how warm or cool people are, I focused
instead on how wonderful it makes me feel to live close to the water? (Lake
Zurich is absolutely gorgeous, not to mention has waterski facilities!)

Does the strength of our attachment to certain
places undermine our ability (or willingness) to adjust and if that’s the case,
is there a way around that? Many of you may have done this better than I have. I’d
love to hear how.

2 Comments

  1. Howdy.
    Hope you don't mind me actively joining:)

    We say "Home is where you feel good" – that implies already that you can have more homes. Why actually only one?:) I know this might sound superficially, but i managed well to be at home in Prag and the same time in Vienna for some year now. i still cannot manage to "be" at home when i'm back in Romania and now i even know why: i changed, i think different than back in the days. So i don't feel good there… And suddenly i know, my old home will never be my home again.

    But at the same time we say that "der Mensch heiligt den Ort" – help me out with the translation.:).

    Sometime i think about the Vikings, or just about America – find a place and make it your home:). Build a house, raise kids and buy some shares:). How many times can we do that? As many as we want – that's so wonderful about human beings.
    But i don't think you would really "start over" – it's just "continue" – i guess i would feel and think like that..

    my midday break is over so i'll post some another time:)

    Keep posting, i love to read your blog!
    cheers,
    veo

  2. Veo, thanks for your comment!
    We can definitely have more than one homes – it all depends on how we define home and how "portable" that makes it. Also, you are right that once we leave our original home – and the longer we stay away – the harder it gets to feel at home again when we go back – classic expat syndrome 🙂
    As for "Der Mensch heiligt den Ort," I looked it up and it's a Romanian expression ("Omul sfîntește locul"), so I think you are in a better position to translate 🙂
    I think what you are trying to say is that we decide where we make our home? I really like the concept of continuing rather than starting over; it's a very positive way to see any move.
    Looking forward to more discussion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *