What does home mean anymore?

Is home a physical location? Is it the people I love? Is it a hybrid of both, mixed with some nostalgia and memories? I haven’t lived in any one place since I was 18 for more than two or three years at a time, so home for me doesn’t necessarily mean a geographical location. I am a Montanan with a fierce love for my enormous, multi-faceted state, but I’m also a creature who has inhabited the mountains and valleys of Switzerland and the green, lush south part of Vancouver Island. Home for me is definitely when I’m with the people who light me up, but my relationship with the land is strong.

Part of this is because I’ve been alone much of the time. Not lonely. Alone. There is a big difference, and I think that learning to be alone, truly alone, and find peace in that is absolutely necessary. We often live in a weird state of semi-connected isolation in our technology tethered society, but I think that as human beings it is vital to be able to find yourself totally solo and not be bothered. I find that some of the most pure memories I have are when I was alone, whether it was on an early morning walk around Paradiso or sitting on a rock listening to the waves, looking into the ocean. I am alone with the earth and with everything around me. Savoring the taste of a good latte with a book in my favorite coffee shops or seeing “The Scream” at The Met and crying quietly in front of it. These are not happy moments in the sense of joy or exhilaration, but they are serene, smooth, and utterly mine. They were created by me, for me, and I allowed myself to be okay with the fact that there was nobody to rest my head on, to look over and smile at, and that feeling of being alone is terrifying but so good.

We live in a world of wage stagnation, nutter politicans, and dreadful news 24/7. We live in a world where technology defines relationships, where not having internet can feel like a death sentence. We are surrounded by media screaming at us that we are not enough, that we could be better. In such a vicious, often callous world, the ability to go away on a walk or sit and have a meal alone in a restaurant or even just look out the window and (not to be morbid but) we will die alone, and in between we will spend much of our lives being alone. This is not a bad thing but a reality we must face and I and many people I deeply love and respect have chosen to not fight it and find peace and serenity in our autonomy and the human experience of existence.

Coming up roses (or poppies)

This is Lugano to me. It’s slow, it’s centered towards relaxing, and it’s centered around being Italy with the gelato stands and the language and the history…but not.

Living in a place where two cultures collide and blend can still be so shocking. Every walk downtown I learn something new, every time I go grocery shopping, I don’t just grocery shop. I’m becoming part of a community, little by little. This astounds me and yet, when I think about it, I can never ever be Ticinese, or Swiss, even though I carry the Migros bag, have the train pass, and (sort of, badly) speak the language.

Now that I’m on the cusp of getting ready to flee yet another beautiful place, I’m beginning to get homesick without even knowing where my home is any longer. I can’t stand to be in my room, because all I picture is packing and turning it into a room for somebody else.

But isn’t’ that life? Just when you’re comfortable, you get thrown for a loop? While I may be moping a bit, I’m also so excited for the future at my next college. It will be the opposite of this in size, in people, in cultural backgrounds, and in goals. I’ll find a niche. Or I’ll make one. Either way, everything will turn out wonderfully, as long as I keep believing this.