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!


Maren said…
As soon as I saw the tortilla I thought Batman. He did a good job! Home is where you make it. I'll even catch myself referring to hotels as "home" when we're on vacation because that is where my family is. I am excited to see where your next home will be when you come back.
ivrcti said…
I know what you mean about the sense of home. I distinctly remember when I first referred to my barracks at West Point as 'home'. It was accidental and totally surreal. Now I define home as wherever my lovely wife is.
melissa said…
hmmm. home. good question. i've lived in cache valley longer than anywhere so i guess it's my home, but i always tell people i'm from idaho.
Meg N. said…
Home can be such an ambiguous concept! I'm lucky enough to have been able to return to the "home" where I grew up (the general region, at least) where some of my family still is. But I did get pretty used to Utah and considered it a second kind of home, I guess. That's where most of my friends were and where I knew my way around well. There are definitely different definitions and kinds of homes. Have you noticed the kids referring to just one place as home, or different places?
Nate said…
Yeah, home is where the heart is! It's okay to still have a place in your heart for Michigan :) I suppose your kids will learn that it's the family that makes the home, not the Soviet era or run-down, looks-like-this-is-supposed-to-be-a-log-cabin apartment!

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