We're in this strange space where we keep referring to Michigan/America as 'home.' Without thinking about it, we'll say to Niko, "Remember back home, how we'd...." Or we'll say, "When we move back home next year..."
These kinds of sentences always end with us feeling a bit flummoxed and strange. "I mean, when we move back to America," we end up saying.
The truth is, 'home' is a strange concept for me right now.
I grew up in North Carolina (but without a huge sense of being "North Carolinian" or whatnot), but my family doesn't live there anymore, and I haven't kept in close contact with anyone that does. I went to school in Utah, but that never really felt like home. The place my parents live now feels home-ish, but it's still not my home.
The place I've felt most at home in recent years (it's also the place I've lived the longest in the last decade) was Michigan, but we don't live there anymore, and likely won't when we move back to the U.S.
In truth, I feel fairly rootless, unmoored. Where is my home? What do I mean when I say the word?
When we first got here and were living somewhere temporarily, we started referring to it as 'home' to the kids, I think in part to regain a sense of normalcy in an unfamiliar place. Upon moving to our permanent apartment, we quickly switched to calling it home. And it already feels homey--our Soviet-era apartment with its plastic sunflower tablecloth and kitchen sink that is 4 inches too far in the corner to really feel comfortable (remind me to post a photo of it sometime).
The kids chase each other around here, squealing and yelling (and sometimes crying, depending on if Miriam is still happy about the chasing) and making messes. Jesse sits at the desk, re-writing lesson plans for when classes start in a few weeks. I munch on ginger cookies and read a collection of short stories on my kindle. Home is settling in around the edges of things.
Some photos of home lately:
Miriam found all of the boxes I stashed from our new appliances (I'm saving them to make crafts with Niko) and all of our plastic and reusable bags and spread them all out across the kitchen floor. Side note: those boxes have now been moved out of baby-reach.
We miraculously found tortillas at the grocery store, and Nikolai ate one into the shape of Batman. He was so proud!