Question: Where and what is “home”?

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“There’s no place like home.” That was Dorothy’s homesick mantra in the Wizard of Oz, and saying it got her back to Kansas. For her, “home” was where she was from, and where she wanted to be. But I find it quite difficult to say just where home is. Is it where we are now, or where we are from, or something else entirely? Two of the best ways into small talk are “So, where are you from?” and “Where do you live?” But even little innocent questions like that can open up a whole can of worms. These days you might find yourself living in a virtual home someplace between BlueTooth, Minnesota and WiFi, Israel.

Let me tell you about where I am at home in this week’s podcast. I can tell you: It doesn’t have much to do with my street address. And what about you? I’d love to hear from you.

Life’s a voyage that’s homeward bound. – Herman Melville
Where thou art, that is home. – Emily Dickinson (thou art = you are)
A man’s homeland is wherever he prospers. – Aristophanes

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3 Responses

  1. Home is the place or the feeling where I don’t become homesick 😉 (ich weiss gar nicht ob man das so sagen kann, aber ist eigentlich logisch, oder?)

  2. My mother brought home a little wall plaque from Canada, once, after she’d visited her sisters there who’d emigrated with their Canadian husbands after 1945; it said: Home is where you hang your hat.

    My grand uncle on the other hand, said to me when I was a child and after I had told him I wanted to travel: travelling is good but don’t forget the older you get the more drawn you’ll be to the old homestead and back to your roots!
    Thank goodness for the EU and for how easy travelling has become for us here – I can come and go and feel free.

  3. Dear Dolce,

    That’s lovely, and I agree: If you don’t feel homesick, you’re really at home … in the world. 😉

    Dear Joan,

    Yes, it’s so good to be able to travel so easily. I think we expats have a few decisions to make about where we hang our hats, especially as we get older. How well integrated do we feel as part of the community we live in? Or is distinction and difference and expat subculture rather than integration what we want?

    When I first came to Germany I avoided Americans. My studies and jobs in Germany had nothing to do with expats. It’s only since I became a teacher and came to Munich that I really started networking with other English speaking expats. One of the things I like about MELTA is that it is so well integrated in this city… though things could be even better.

    We can have the best of both worlds, traveling and having jobs, being there and being here. But, and it is a big BUT, it is an effort, keeping up relationships long-distance and being savvy about social security and all that. It’s not always easy, right? But I really like that Irish saying (and the Irish would know): “The world’s your oyster!” 😉 (=die Welt liegt dir zu Füßen)

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