This weekend I am (hopefully) going home, and I can’t wait. Last month I wrote about how I was missing home, but it struck me that I no longer have a home in the UK so why do I still call it that? When I talk about home it can get confusing as I also consider my house in Brunei ‘home’, albeit temporarily. So where is home, and am I allowed more than one?
I have always thought of the UK as my home, more specifically East Yorkshire where I grew up. I still think of it as home now, even though I haven’t lived there permanently since 2001. I suppose it will remain my home as long as my parents still live there. Whenever I go back I instantly feel at ease, I carry parts of it wherever I go: memories, places; even my accent (which I will probably never lose although it has faded with time).
When I moved out at eighteen to go to university, Yorkshire remained my home. It wasn’t until I relocated to Aberdeen with my partner that things changed. I can’t remember the moment when I started calling Aberdeen my home, but I know that it took time. Perhaps I didn’t feel I really belonged until we bought our own house three years after we moved there. I do know that when we sold up to move to Brunei that I was sad to say goodbye to our first home.
When we moved to Brunei it was different. Here we have affixed term contract of four years and stay in a company house. Yet I can pinpoint the exact moment when it began to feel like home – as soon as our furniture arrived. The house transformed from temporary accommodation into a cosy home in a matter of days and, just like that, Brunei went from being an alien environment to home. The saying ‘home is where the heart is’ also rings true; my home is where my husband lives, and now my son as well. So, although a part of me will always feel at home in Yorkshire it’s not my true home anymore.
People have a tendency to romanticise the past, and I am no exception. It’s easy to look back on a place or time and only remember the good parts, or vice versa. Although I grew up in Yorkshire I wasn’t born there and if I think back to the hazy memories I have of moving there at the age of six then I can just about remember how much I hated the move. I was too shy to approach the other children in my class and they all laughed at my ‘posh’ accent – I pronounced the ‘s’ in ‘yes’. On the other hand, when we moved from Aberdeen I rejoiced at not having to endure any more dark, cold winters or barely-warm summers. Yet when we were discussing places to visit with some friends who have just moved there I remembered all the wonderful days out we had and wished I could go back (at least for a visit to the theatre and our favourite restaurant). I wonder what my feelings towards Brunei will be when we leave, especially given that my son was born here. But for now I am looking forward to leaving my home for a few weeks and seeing our friends and family.